Citizen Fuel Reduction Policy
GUIDELINES FOR TRIMMING AND SEEDING OF GRASSES ON BOISE CITY OPEN SPACE RESERVE LANDS ADJACENT TO YOUR HOME
Boise manages over 4200 acres of open space reserves, and much of this land is directly adjacent to residential neighborhoods and businesses. When fire occurs within open space reserves, it presents a risk to those living and working nearby.
The City of Boise actively manages its open space reserves to reduce wildfire hazards in partnership with the community. Every year, the City mitigates fire hazards through projects which include mowing, grazing, herbicide application, and sagebrush thinning. The City has also taken great strides in educating citizens and groups like homeowners associations (HOAs) and neighborhood associations (NAs) on how they can take part in preparing and mitigating wildfire hazards that threaten them in their respective neighborhoods.
In an effort to help neighborhoods and residents take part in mitigation efforts, the City of Boise allows the cutting of grasses on land adjacent to Boise Open Space Reserves within 20 feet of any residential land parcel. Within this 20-foot zone, residents also have the opportunity to seed with native grasses in the fall using approved seed types.
Click here to learn if your home is adjacent to a City of Boise Open Space Reserve.
HOAs, NAs, and residents may apply for permits. The City of Boise Foothills Restoration Specialist will provide professional expertise to guide groups and individuals in policy implementation.
Only the following activities are allowable:
- Weed trimming of grass understory, with plastic blades or plastic string, on reserve property within 20 feet of property line, if property is directly adjacent to a Boise Open Space Reserves. (Please verify adjacent property ownership before conducting wildfire mitigation activity by calling the City of Boise Foothills Restoration Specialist at (208) 493-2535.
- Fall broadcast seeding of native grasses. (approved native grasses will be determined by the Foothills Restoration Specialist and guidance from NRCS web soil survey.)
The following guidelines must be met to perform the allowed activities
- A permit is required prior to performing allowable wildfire mitigation activities within a City of Boise open space reserve.
- Prior to downloading the permit, the permittee must view a brief educational presentation.
- The video is available on the permit application website.
- The permit must be present on-site where the work is being done. HOAs and NAs are responsible for distributing permits to participating homeowners.
The permit contains non-emergency and emergency contact information regarding the mitigation project.
- Grasses shall not be cut less than 4" in height on flat terrain and 6" in height on sloped terrain, in order to maintain the integrity and stability of soil in treated areas.
- Cut or trimmed organic materials must be bagged and removed from the site to reduce the spread of non-native invasive grasses, and to reduce wildfire risk. Due to the highly invasive nature of Rush Skeletonweed, pulling and bagging of this weed prior to trimming of grasses is strongly encouraged.
Prohibitions and Restrictions:
- The use of metal blades, chains, and similar metallic implements is specifically prohibited.
- Internal combustion engines may not be used for wildfire mitigation activities between July 1 and September 30 of each year.
- During the period when the use of internal combustion engines is allowed, all internal combustion engines used for fire mitigation activities must have a spark arrestor.
- The removal of shrubs, brush, and trees is prohibited, unless specifically approved on a case-by-case basis.
- Denuding the ground (removal of grasses down to bare earth) is prohibited.
- Herbicide applications are prohibited.
- Use of fire is prohibited.
- Planting of non-native vegetation is prohibited.
IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THAT YOUR MITIGATION WORK DOES NOT START A FIRE – The following best practices are strongly advised!
- Have a fire extinguisher on hand, as well as a garden hose and working cellphone in case a fire is started.
- Do not lay hot equipment in dry grass where it may ignite flammable grasses.
- Refuel tools away from any vegetation, on paved surfaces. Store gasoline away from work area.
- Avoid running equipment when hikers or wildlife are present. Discontinue work until they are clear from the area.
- Inform neighbors that you will be completing this mitigation activity.
Surveys will be conducted by the Boise Parks & Recreation Department and the Boise Fire Department following mitigation actions and in subsequent growing seasons. These surveys will serve to gauge the success of this resident led mitigation strategy.
Questions about this policy should be directed to the City of Boise’s Foothills Restoration Specialist at 208-493-2535.