Firestorm prevention season in full swing

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- Lest you mistake being a firefighter for constant excitement, there is another side to it.

"This is definitely one of our problem sites," said Santa Rosa Assistant Fire Marshal Paul Lowenthal as he inspected his first lot on the first day of that city's weed abatement program. He's telling owners they need to cut down brush.

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The first visit is free. If Lowenthal returns and finds problems still exist, owners will pay for the department's time. "If we don't have them in compliance, we give them no more free time because the owner won't be motivated."
Think in terms of hundreds of dollars.

As green grass turns gold, the fire season has essentially already begun.

With every day, expect pro-active prevention. Pacific Gas and Electric now has the authority to cut power to lines in high-risk times and areas...decisions made in this San Francisco wildfire operations center.

"There is no formula. We would confer with other agencies in making the decision," said Deanna Contreras, who speaks for PG&E.

RELATED: PG&E unveils new wildfire safety operations center

"How will PG&E notify people?" we asked.

"We're still working with communities on the details," said Contreras.

The new policy doesn't please every customer. John Coleman of Novato says he's already unhappy with what he calls sloppy PG&E tree work around those power lines. "Hell, how do you get your garage door open? Turning off people's electricity is wrong."

PG&E, meantime, says that this season if a customer has trees or brush within 15 feet of a power line, they will cut it down for free.

Clearly, after last fall's firestorm disaster, this year's anti-firestorm drill has already begun.

For more information on fire prevention and fire safety, visit this page.

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