The guidelines below apply to all vacant, unimproved parcels within the City of Lake Elsinore on a year-round basis.

All Vacant Parcels

  • All weeds, grass, brush, or other combustible vegetation shall be completely cleared on all parcels that are less than five (5) acres in size. This includes any alley, parkway strips, or unimproved public easements abutting the property. Grading shall not take place without appropriate permits.
  • All weeds must be cut to a maximum of three inches (3’’) in height on all parcels. All clippings shall either be mulched to a depth no greater than three inches (3’’) or removed.   
  • Remove from trees any dead or overgrown branches within eight feet (8’) from the ground.
  • Trees overhanging sidewalks must be trimmed so no branches are hanging below twelve feet (12’). Trees overhanging roadways/driveways must be trimmed so that no branches are hanging below thirteen and a half feet (13’ 6”). 
  • All rubbish, trash, trimmings, litter, tires and combustible waste material including palm fronds must be removed from the property and taken to an approved refuse disposal facility.

Parcels Over Five (5) Acres

  • Firebreaks must be a continuous 100–foot wide strip of land, which is clear of all combustible weeds, grass, stubble, rubbish, or other material which would allow for the travel of fire.
  • On larger parcels cross cuts must be used so that no unabated areas exceed five (5) acres including any alley, parkway strip, or unimproved public easement abutting the parcel. Grading shall not take place without the appropriate permits.
  • Provide 100-foot wide firebreaks along each side of all roadways, fences, property lines, ditches and creeks. 
  • Where trees are located within any firebreak any dead or overgrown branches within eight feet (8’) from the ground.

Parcels That Contain or May Contain Habitat

  • Parcels known to contain or that the parcel owner believes may contain habitat or rare, threatened or endangered plant species, shall contact the California Department of Fish and Wildlife at least ten (10) days in advance of clearing. If the parcel owner is aware of any federally or state listed species then the appropriate wildlife agency shall be contacted prior to clearance. It is possible that a permit may be required from the appropriate agencies (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and/or the California Department of Fish and Wildlife) prior to clearance.  
  • Where fuel modification plans have been approved by the Fire Department, these plans must be implemented in addition to these abatement standards.
  • When parcels are adjacent to roadways, a ten foot (10’) firebreak must be maintained along the full roadway length.

Any vacant parcels that are not fully compliant with these standards including partially cleared parcels will be abated by the City at a significantly higher cost than hiring a private contractor.

For questions, please contact the City at (951) 674-3124. If you wish to dispute a notice, you must submit a written appeal to the City’s Fire Marshal within 15 days of the date of this notice. The appeal shall state the reasons why this notice is incorrect. A hearing on the appeal shall be conducted pursuant to Lake Elsinore Municipal Code Section 8.18.040.