Kern County residents now have two weeks less time to clear their property of weeds and other hazardous growth; otherwise, they face an administrative penalty that has doubled.

According to Capt. Jason Knaggs, public information officer for the Kern County Fire Department, the compliance date has been changed from June 15 to June 1. The amendment to the ordinance was approved by the Kern County Board of Supervisors during its regular meeting on April 4.

"Compliance is our number one goal with this, and that ultimate goal points to our mission to protect lives and property, make it safer for the public and our firefighters and give us a chance to protect your home better," Knaggs said.

In addition to the earlier deadline, Knaggs said the administrative penalty for non-compliance will increase from $250 to $500 for the first violation, and $500 to $1,000 for additional violations during the same calendar year.

According to Knaggs, if an administrative citation is issued, the property owner is given 15 days to comply and show proof of compliance to the Hazard Reduction office.

Said Knaggs, "This time period has increased to allow for property owners to adjust to the new deadline."

The captain said local residents should expect to receive mailers with this information.

Said Knaggs, "This is not a money grab for the county. Our goal is to have zero citations issued. We are just trying to get the attention of the property owners so they can comply."

The deadline has been moved up to June 1 instead of June 15 in an effort to remain consistent with other counties within California.

Properties that have evidence of fuel management, such as tree piles cut down for the Fire Hazard Reduction Program, will not be subject to fines.

To view the current notification letter as well as find information on defensible space clearance requirements, visit kerncountyfire.org.