Slope Maintenance Plan Underway
Several years ago, for safety reasons, landscaping maintenance of our Village’s large slopes had been reduced, and, as a result, is now overgrown. Not only is this overgrowth unattractive, some of it poses a potential fire hazard.
The recent Northern California wildfires have spurred the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) and the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) to institute new fire prevention regulations, many of which pertain to landscaping: groundcover must not exceed 12 inches high, shrubs must be shorter than 2 feet, and a clearance of 4 feet must exist between the bottoms of trees and tops of shrubs.
In cooperation with OCFA, Village Management Services staff developed a multiyear plan to quickly and effectively reduce plant fuel in the community. The goal during the first two years of the plan is to gain control of the overgrowth on the largest slopes. Work began last year in high-risk areas located at western edge of Third Mutual, adjacent to open land. This year, work is underway in some United and GRF areas.
Many of these slopes feature shrubs and groundcover that when first cut back will appear woody, bare and unattractive. Most of this plant material will bounce back and become green again in a short period. Plant material that does not survive the first phase will be replaced in the second phase. At that time, dead material will be replaced with fire-resistant, slow-growing and water-wise plants.
VMS staff also has been working with OCFA and OC Parks to reduce the fire fuel in the wildlands adjacent to the Village. A contract is in place and permits have been submitted to tackle the overgrowth outside our walls. This land is maintained as wildland by OC Parks, but the agency has agreed to allow us cut down trees, shrubs and grasses that pose risks to our community. Starting in June, contractors will be working outside the perimeter walls to reduce the fuel and help keep the Village safe.
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