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Law restricts lawns in Kalispell

By Kevin Lessard, KCFW Reporter, klessard@kcfw.com
Published On: Jun 27 2013 01:14:47 PM MDT
Updated On: Jun 27 2013 01:39:54 PM MDT
KALISPELL, Mont. -

In a just a few days, tall grass or weeds could land property owners in trouble.  The law kicks in every summer.

"Our greater concern with the ordinance is that by late summer early fall, that tall vegetation dries and poses a fire hazard.  Fire moves quickly though tall grass and adjoining buildings," said Tom Jentz, Kalispell’s Planning Director.

It's all about protecting property from fires.

"It doesn't take long for a grass fire to move into a structure fire," said Kalispell Fire Chief Dave Dedman.

He stressed to the importance of removing these fire hazards from your lawn.

"Weeds and grass are all fine fuels so they burn very hot and the burn very quickly,” said Dedman.  “That's one of the reasons we ask individuals or homeowners and property owners to maintain their yards and fields and make sure they're at appropriate height."

The rules are simple; keep the weeds and the grass shorter than eight inches.

We wanted to find out exactly how much eight inches of grass is.  We went to a Kalispell front yard to see what it would look like.  We measured out some weeds in the front yard, and they measured out at about 10 inches tall.  If the weeds are 10 inches tall, it shouldn't be too difficult to keep your grass under the eight inch requirement by the city.

Jentz tells us that they receive about 75 to 100 complaints every summer about property owners who don't follow the rules.

When that happens, the city steps in.

"Typically we inspect the property, and if the property is in violation we'll send the property owner a letter.  They have ten days to take care of it typically mow the property,” Jentz said.  If they don't mow the property we invite them to come before the judge and explain why."

The city will begin enforcing the ordinance on July 1st and it will last through the warm weather season.