Weed Abatement / Hazardous Vegetation

What is Weed Abatement / Hazardous Vegetation?

Weed abatement is removing dead vegetation to create a “defensible space” that will improve a structure's chance of surviving a wildfire and help stop fires from spreading from open space areas to homes and other structures.

Who is responsible for Weed Abatement / Hazardous Vegetation?

All property owners are responsible for keeping weeds and other vegetation from becoming a fire hazard. However, some properties are at higher fire risk because of their location, lot size, or amount of vegetation. The City requires that owners or occupants take extra steps to clear (or abate) weeds and other vegetation from these higher fire risk properties.

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What is the City's Weed Abatement / Hazardous Vegetation Program?

The City of Petaluma has an official Weed Abatement program that involves the Fire Protection Bureau and the Neighborhood Preservation team.

For the 2024 year, the compliance date is/was May 31. The program begins each year with a City Council resolution declaring weeds to be a public nuisance. Weed Abatement notices are mailed to property owners with properties which, if not abated, can pose a fire hazard during the dry season.

Inspections are conducted throughout the dry season, and the property must be maintained in order to remain in compliance. Even if a property owner abates their property early in the season, there is potential for re-growth, which must be abated again. If at any time the property is determined to be a hazard, the property may be abated by the City without additional notice.

There are two different departments that manage the program:

  • The Fire Prevention Bureau handles complaints and abatement for undeveloped commercial and residential properties, city owned parcels, and all open space areas.  Undeveloped property usually refers to commercial or residential parcels that do not have any structures built upon them.  For additional information, or to report a problem, please submit the online form or contact the Fire Prevention Bureau at (707) 778-4389 or [email protected].
  • The Neighborhood Preservation team handles complaints and abatement for all developed commercial and residential properties.  Developed property usually refers to any commercial or residential properties with existing structures built upon them.  To file a complaint, please complete the online form or call (707) 778-4469.

How much does it cost, if the City abates my Property?

In addition to an administrative fee of $250, costs for abatement are based on the current rates for the Contractor. Please contact us at [email protected] for the most current rates. Some methods of abatement are listed below.

Traditional Methods

Hand Weed Whip

Tractor Mowing

Dozer fire breaks with disking

Mastication – land clearing

Zero Emissions Abatement

Hand Weed Whip:

Sheep/Goat Grazing for properties over 1 acre

Additional Resources

For tips on wildfire preparedness for Sonoma County property owners, view Fire Safe Sonoma’s Ready Set Go booklet.


For more info and assistance, contact the Fire Prevention Division by email, or phone 707-778-4389.

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