Breaking News
More () »

Overgrown weeds on city owned lands creating more fire hazards in San Diego

A recent assessment of San Diego’s brush management efforts showed a lack of management oversight.

SAN DIEGO — With more rain than usual this year, you may have noticed more weeds and overgrown vegetation. A recent audit of San Diego’s brush management efforts found that overall, the City’s been lacking and isn’t cutting it. CBS 8 is Working for You to find out who’s responsible for the brush cleanup and what’s being done about it.

“More weeds and varieties of weeds came in so thick that it’s tough to get rid of, and now you can see, it’s not green anymore. It’s dying and a fire hazard,” said Damien Devine, who lives near a city-owned lot in the San Carlos neighborhood and owns a home inspection business. “The brush was 8 feet tall right here. Several neighbors came together one morning, and we just trimmed it as best we could.”

A city crew trimmed back one area down the hill two months ago, but they stopped there.

“They told us that’s all they were going to do, but you can see it’s up against this homeowner’s fence; it’s throughout the area,” Devine said.

A recent assessment of San Diego’s brush management efforts was presented to the City Council’s Audit Committee Wednesday.

“Many high fire risk city lands don’t appear to receive regular brush management currently,” a member of City Staff in Council Chambers said.

The chief takeaway from the audit revealed that “the city lacks comprehensive brush management oversight, causing inconsistent and potentially ineffective brush management efforts by some departments with significant amounts of land in Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones.”

“I think this situation should not become commonplace for City properties, but, as this audit shows, this is the reality we’re facing,” Councilmember Vivian Moreno said.

So who’s responsible for the brush cleanup? That’s a difficult question without a simple answer. Depending on the location, it could be one of ten different City departments. Regarding the 3,200 acres identified within high-fire risk areas and 100 feet of a structure, CBS 8 found that Parks and Recreation, Transportation, and the Public Utilities Department are responsible for brush management in 90% of those areas.

“Brush management in any city is challenging,” said George Duardo, president of Local 145, San Diego City Firefighters.

San Diego Fire-Rescue doesn't currently monitor overgrowth on public lands, but the City wants to change that.

At CBS 8, we are always Working for You and our community. This is a station promise that we will go the extra mile to solve a problem our audience can’t solve themselves. We want to hear your ideas on how we can cover and help our community. If you have a story idea, please email us at workingforyou@cbs8.com.

WATCH RELATED: Lerp infestation raises concerns about fire hazards in Scripps Ranch

Before You Leave, Check This Out