The City of Santa Rosa Fire Department has officially declared the end of the 2023 wildfire season in Santa Rosa, which suspends the City’s Weed Abatement Ordinance requirements. It will also allow pile burning permits to be issued in the coming weeks. The weed abatement requirements and the issuance of burn permits are both based on local conditions. While conditions around the region and state currently vary, locally, Santa Rosa received several beneficial rounds of rain over the last month, and several more days of rain forecasted this week.
The Fire Department first announced the start of Santa Rosa’s 2023 wildfire season on June 5 – based on local conditions and later than the previous year due to late Spring rains.
Although the risk of wildfires has been significantly reduced locally, fires can still occur, but with much less intensity. During the off-season, the Fire Department encourages those residents who live within or around the City’s Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) area to make plans to prepare properties in anticipation of next year’s wildfire season. Proactive efforts can significantly help reduce the spread of wildfires locally. Residents should maintain defensible space around their homes by addressing new growth of vegetation that includes brush and tree limbs.
“Our community benefited from significant rainfall earlier this year,” said Santa Rosa Fire Chief Scott Westrope. “Although we responded to several vegetation fires this year, the activity locally was minimal, and we have the weather and our community to thank. The rains in early 2023 left us with residual moisture in fire fuels, which include heavy brush, trees and timber. With more moisture in fuels, along with property owners continuing to maintain defensible space and keeping seasonal grasses cut and in compliance with our Weed Abatement Ordinance, led to another safe season.”
Weed Abatement Inspections Suspended
With the end of wildfire season being declared, the Santa Rosa Fire Department will suspend annual weed abatement inspections effective Nov. 14, 2023. During fire season, property owners are required to keep weeds and seasonal grass cut down to four inches in height and maintain this practice throughout the declared season. Properties required to take this measure include those within the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), on all vacant lots across Santa Rosa (including those in fire rebuilding areas) or developed properties with more than a half-acre of unimproved land.
Pile Burning Permits in the City of Santa Rosa
The Fire Department anticipates that pile burning will be permissible starting in late November in permitted locations within the City of Santa Rosa. The Fire Department will continue to monitor conditions locally and coordinate any pile-burning-related efforts with regional partners when making the official decision on when to begin issuing those permits. The pile burning ordinance allows property owners to burn vegetative debris piles as a limited method to reduce the threat of wildfires. Under appropriate weather conditions, this type of pile burning can rapidly eliminate vegetative debris after it is cut and piled; however, a permit must be obtained through the Fire department before proceeding with any pile-burning work.
For additional information on pile burning and what preparedness measures are recommended for property owners before the next fire season, view the Santa Rosa Fire Department’s Wildfire Ready online information center at SRCity.org/WildfireReady.