1. Understand when brush is a potential fire hazard
Check out the “City of San Diego Guide to Fire Safety and Brush Management for Private Property”. It is very specific about a homeowner’s responsibilities for keeping their property free of fire hazards. There are also other resources available on the resource page of our website.
2. Share information
Obviously the first step is to try to talk to you neighbor about the potential danger. If you think it will help, we can supply you with a hard copy of the guide mentioned above for your neighbor.
3. Offer to help
Sometimes neighbors will offer to help trim or share the cost of trimming as just the price of also making their own house safer.
4. Last resort: report
If nothing else works, take a picture, and report the situation on San Diego’s Get It Done site, and/or call the San Diego Fire Hazard Advisor at 619-533-4444. Complaints are private and not shared or discussed with either party.
They can send out an inspector, although there may be a wait because there’s a limited number of inspectors serving the whole city. If they find brush management violations, they will advise the homeowner on corrective action needed and give them time to correct the problems. If the owner does not correct the violations within the specified time period, the city can issue a citation with fines, and potentially “forced abatement” costing hundreds of dollars. More info: https://www.sandiego.gov/fire/services/complaintinspections
If electrical wires are involved, contact SDGE at 1-800-411-7343. If possible, get the “pole number” which is stamped on a silver marker on each pole. This will give them a precise location. They have professional arborists who can assess the situation and decide if the tree or tree limbs pose a hazard. If necessary, they will then arrange for pruning or, if a tree needs to be removed, they can recommend replacement options that won’t interfere with wires as they grow. They even have a tree replacement program. More info at: https://www.sdge.com/safety/tree-safety
Fire hazards put us all at risk, not just a single homeowner. By taking action, you are being a responsible citizen and trying to make us all safer.
On behalf of everyone in our community, thank you for your efforts!