Clear Brush to Prevent Fire
By Richard K. Schonely, Fire Inspector
Recent heavy rains have created new brush growth. Check your house and lot now!
The Department of Fire and Public Safety is encouraging property owners to make sure that their homes and land are in compliance with the Uniform Fire Code pertaining to brush as adopted by the County of Maui.
The Department of Fire and Public Safety will be inspecting vacant lots and large house lots, known as parcels, yearly throughout Molokai. You are encouraged to visit the nearest fire station or the Fire Prevention Office and pick up brochures on how the parcel shall be maintained. You may also visit www.firewise.org to get tips on making your home safe from a brush fire. Please read the following and keep in mind that violators can face a fine of up to $1,000 for each day the violation exists. This does not include the liability that a property owner may face if his/her parcel is responsible for the spread of a fire.
Any person owning, leasing, controlling, operating or maintaining any building or structure in a hazardous fire area, or adjoining a hazardous fire area shall at all times:
1. Remove and clear all flammable vegetation or other combustible growth at least 30 feet on each side of the building or structure. This does not apply to trees, ornamental shrubbery or similar plants used as ground covers, provided that they do not form a means of rapidly transmitting fire from the native growth to any structure.
2. If the Fire Chief determines 30 feet is not sufficient to provide reasonable fire safety, remove and clear all brush, flammable vegetation or combustible growth from 30 to 100 feet from the building or structure. Grass and other vegetation located more than 30 feet from such building or structure and less than 18 inches in height above the ground may be maintained where necessary to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion.
3. Maintain any tree adjacent to or overhanging any building, and clear up dead wood.
4. Maintain the roof of any structure free of leaves, needles or other dead vegetative growth.
Please also keep in mind that electrical transmission lines shall also be kept clear of all vegetative growth. Do not attempt to remove hazardous brush near live electrical equipment without proper training. Contact the responsible utility company for information. Keep a 10 foot clearance around telephone and electrical poles, transformers etc. A 10 foot clearance shall also be maintained along all roadways.
Your cooperation is greatly appreciated and your neighbors will thank you. We must prepare for the next brush fire because it’s not a matter of if it happens but when. Are you prepared? Stay fire safe!