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Medford weed and grass ordinance goes into effect early as fire season approaches

Last year, the ordinance took effect on June 1st. This year it was amended to take effect one month early.

Posted: Apr 26, 2019 10:32 AM
Updated: Apr 26, 2019 3:38 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — In a fire season full of vast, inexorable forest fires, the greatest threat to homes in the spring and summer of 2018 came from fast-moving grass fires like the Klamathon Fire and Penninger Fire. This year the City of Medford is trying to steal a march on grass fires by moving the weed and grass ordinance a month earlier.

Last year the ordinance took effect on June 1, but this year it goes into effect just a few days from now, on May 1.

"Unmaintained dry vegetation creates a significant fire risk during fire season," Medford Fire-Rescue said in a statement. "Fire can race through such vegetation endangering lives and property. The best way to minimize the fire risk is to reduce the available fuels.

The City ordinance mandates that any property with uncontrolled or unmaintained grass, weeds, brush or other vegetation above 10 inches tall "creates a fire hazard that must be abated," punishable by a fine.

However, there are a few exceptions, like the following:

  • Ornamental shrubs, bushes, or other like vegetation maintained and kept in a landscaped yard or place
  • Any crop grown and maintained for agricultural purposes, or grass or other like vegetation grown and maintained for pasturage upon property fenced, zoned, and otherwise lawfully used for said purpose
  • Any "natural area" within a public park in the City of Medford

For more information about the ordinance and related rules, go to the City's website here.

In addition to the threat of a fine, if the City orders that a fire hazard needs to be attended, the property owner becomes responsible for the cost and administrative fees incurred while taking care of the problem.

To submit a fire hazard complaint, contact City officials here.

To find out more about fireproofing your home and property, check out this page here.

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