Ordinance would require removal of flammable plants at homes in Mill Valley

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MILL VALLEY (KRON) — In the North Bay, an aggressive wildfire prevention law is up for a vote this week.

It will require homeowners to remove several types of very flammable trees from their properties and not have any plants growing within 3 feet of their homes.

Some believe if the ordinance passes tomorrow, it will only be a matter of time before other Bay Area communities take notice and pass similar laws.

Some of the beauty of Mill Valley comes from its lush gardens and rustic appeal. 

The final vote on a new Vegetation Management Ordinance is here and it would require homeowners to rip out trees for fire prevention.   

The ordinance applies to homes in the “wildland-urban interface,” which is about 75 percent of the community.

“We don’t want to repeat what our friends and neighbors went through in the northern part of the state,” said Fire Chief Tom Welch. 

Welch told KRON4’s Justine Waldman, the plan is aggressive and involves homeowners removing 10 types of highly flammable plants, including acacia, cypress, bamboo and juniper.

“Juniper will burn like you threw a gallon of gas on the road, it will just go like that,” he said.

The second part of the law  requires hardscaping, which is the total removal of all flowers, plants and trees within a three foot perimeter of every house.

Redwood trees and “well-irrigated succulents” are exempt.

A petition is circulating online against the hardscaping proposal, saying it would do little to stop a major fire and kill the curb appeal of the community.

Though fire protection does have a lot of support.

The city council will hear a second reading of the ordinance on Thursday.

If it passes, the law will be phased in over the next few years.

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