Weed Whacker Warning and Advice for Palisadians

More than 150 firefighters battled a 55-acre brush fire in Brentwood over Memorial Day weekend that was sparked by an overheated weed whacker. Ten fires have broken out across the Santa Monica Mountains, Ventura County, and elsewhere since mid-May; and according to the L.A. Times, 50 percent of them were caused by improperly used or maintained weed whackers.

The Los Angeles Fire Department warns that this year Southern California has unusually high amounts of vegetation due to the very heavy winter storms. This vegetation has died and is highly flammable—and, ironically, even as people clear their brush to prevent fires, they are setting the brush ablaze with sparks from weed whackers.

L.A. County guidelines for homes, contractors and gardeners for weed whackers:

  1. Have your weed whacker professionally checked and tuned before use, especially if it’s been in storage.
  2. Make sure there are no gas leaks (leakage caused a three-acre fire).
  3. Take breaks so the motor does not become overheated (overheating caused the Brentwood fire).
  4. Use plastic blades or nylon strings instead of metal blades. Sparks are caused by metal blades hitting rocks.
  5. If you must use a metal blade, clear rocks before you begin cutting or avoid them as much as possible to prevent sparks.
  6. Cut in the cooler parts of the day (morning, evening, or overcast).
  7. ALWAYS have a water source or fire extinguisher close by to put out sparks and blazes immediately!
Credit: Palisades Patrol
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