The Public Eye

Reports from the Bee's investigative team

September 7, 2010
Vacant areas full of weeds are hot-weather fire hazard

By Loretta Kalb

The problem: Weeds and more weeds. They carpet two areas of land in south Sacramento. One is an eight-parcel stretch in the 4900 block of 47th Avenue. The other is adjacent to Clayton B. Wire Elementary School on El Paraiso Avenue. The weeds triggered a call to The Bee from a resident who said the county, once alerted, had failed to address the problem.

The solution: The Sacramento County Municipal Services Agency is within 10 days of having the El Paraiso site cleared, said Zeke Holst, spokesman for the agency. Cleanup of the 47th Avenue site was to have begun late last week.

Holst said when the agency gets complaints, it alerts the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District for feedback.

If the site poses a fire hazard, the county calls in a contractor. For rubbish or serious debris, other enforcement action may be needed. Either way, the process takes time, Holst said.

Residents in the incorporated areas with complaints about similar problems should call the county's main complaint line at (916) 875-5656.

To report fire hazards at undeveloped lots or overgrown pastures, call the fire district's weed abatement line at (916) 851-8934.

Or visit the fire district website,, and choose "nuisance complaint" via the business/fire prevention tab.

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