The Sacramento Fire Department says its weed abatement program cleaned up about 840 properties last year, compared to 920 the previous year. The department's Michael Bartley says the program is designed to cut down on fire danger, but works to battle urban blight as well.
BARTLEY: "Because of the climate and how it dries out in Sacramento these become very, very dangerous fire hazards later on in the season. So, we have a program to encourage property owners to go ahead and abate their own properties and make sure it's safe, but in case they're unable or they refuse to do that, we have a program to go ahead and do that on their behalf."
The fire department sends out about 7500 letters to property owners every year in the city -asking them to cut grasses taller than a foot and remove any debris. Those who refuse are charged according to the size of the lot, plus a $100 administration fee. In the last two years, the department has charged $400,000 for cleanup services.