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I received a notice for a vacant lot

 Why did I receive a notice?


You have been identified as the property owner of one or more vacant lots.  The City of Visalia Fire Department Prevention Division is providing a notice to vacant lot owners informing that their lots must be in compliance with Chapter 8.56 of the Visalia Municipal Code.  All vacant lots you own must meet all Abatement Standards when inspected on the date of your notice.


I believe I received an notice in error.  I do not own a vacant lot.


The notice is sent to the Owner of Record listed on the last county assessment roll.  The lot may have recently been built upon or sold.  If either situation applies to you please disregard the notice.


I believe I received a notice in error.  My property is actively used for agriculture.


Lots used for agriculture are still required to maintain fire safe conditions in accordance with the Abatement Standards and must provide thirty foot (30') wide firebreaks along each side of all combustible structures and storage, all roads and all brush areas.  Provide fifteen foot (15') wide firebreaks along each side of fence lines, ditches and creeks.  Additional abatement may be required depending on the specific factors of the lot.


What are the Abatement Standards?


The following are minimum abatement standards.  The quality of work will be judged by the Visalia Fire Department and additional abatement may be required due to terrain, land use, growth, or other vegetation.


  • All grass, weeds or similar vegetation must not be over 3 inches in height.
  • All fence lines, sidewalks, streets, curbs and gutters shall be thoroughly cleared of weeds, rubbish and dirt.
  • Properties must be clean of all junk, trash, debris, trimmings, furniture, appliances, or other waste material.
  • All trees should be trimmed up at least 5 feet from ground.  Any dead trees, bushes, shrubs or similar vegetation should be completely removed.
  • All wood, lumber, or other combustible materials of value must be stored in a neat and orderly manner safely away from all weeds, grass, crops, vegetation, fences, buildings, or anything that could be expected to burn.




What methods can I use to abate my lot?


Disking Operations: All disking operations on lots that are .5 acres or larger shall comply with RULE 8051 set forth by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.  This rule applies to any lot within urban areas that weed removal leaves less than three inches (3") of stubble immediately after such abatement.  All disking work shall be completed so that all weeds, grass, crops or other vegetation or organic material which could be expected to burn are turned over so there is insufficient fuel to sustain or allow fire to spread.  All additional weeds along fence lines, curbs, and gutters must be removed by hand or mowing operations.


Mowing Operations: All lots that are abated by mowing or are currently being used for legitimate and current agricultural operations shall provide firebreaks as outlined below.  A firebreak is a gap of bare dirt between vegetation and other combustible structures that acts as a barrier to slow or stop the progress of fire.

  • Lots under .5 acres: Provide a minimum of five foot (5') firebreaks along all property lines.
  • Lots 0.5 acres or more: Provide a minimum of ten foot (10')  firebreaks along all property lines.
  • Active Agriculture Lots:  Provide thirty foot (30') wide firebreaks along each side of all combustible structures and storage, all roads and all brush areas.  Provide fifteen foot (15') wide firebreaks along each side of fence lines, ditches, and creeks.

Burning Operations:  Agricultural burning requires burn permits from the San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District and the Visalia Fire Department before burning can be conducted.


What happens if I don't abate my lot by the deadline?


Failure to clean and maintain your lot in accordance with the listed Abatement Standards will result in enforcement which includes inspection and administrative fees and /or abatement of the condition at the property owner's expense.  All costs associated with enforcement shall become a lien on the property.


There is junk and / or trash on my property and I didn't put it there - why am I responsible?


If you are the property owner, then you are ultimately responsible for maintaining the condition of that property.


I have already cleaned my lot.  Why am I receiving this notice?


This notice is intended to be a reminder that lots are required to be maintained at all times in accordance with the listed Abatement Standards.  Inspections of vacant lots will begin on the date listed on the notice.  If any conditions exist on the lot on the day it is inspected it is considered to be in violation and enforcement will be taken.  In additional, you shall be liable for expenses of fighting any fire which may occur, which is determined to have been caused or attributed to said conditions.


Can I request an extension to abate my lot?


No extensions can be granted between May 1st and August 1st.


I want to file an appeal to show I should not be required to abate my lot.


Contact the Fire Marshal at 559-713-4261





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