ANAHEIM : Stricter Rules for Fire Prevention Proposed

Tougher fire prevention standards would be established in east Anaheim under a proposal scheduled for consideration today by the City Council.

The portion of the city east of the Costa Mesa Freeway and south of the Riverside Freeway has been identified by the California Department of Forestry as being particularly prone to fires.

"Every year we experience a threat out there," said Anaheim Fire Marshall Gary Wilder, referring to dangerous conditions created by an abundance of dry brush and high-velocity Santa Ana winds.

To help ease this threat, the Fire Department is recommending that the undeveloped land in this area of hills and canyons be designated as a "very high fire-hazard severity zone." Developed land would be classified as a "special protection area."

Both classifications would establish more stringent regulations for brush clearance. In addition, fire-resistant roofing materials would be required for all new buildings and for existing structures that are being reroofed.

The impetus for these proposed changes is a state bill authored by Assemblyman Tom Bates (D-Berkeley) in response to the devastating 1991 brush fires that swept through the Oakland Hills. The bill requires municipalities to impose stricter fire prevention standards in hazardous areas.

A public hearing on the proposal will be conducted by the council as part of its regular meeting, scheduled to start at 5 p.m., at Anaheim City Hall.

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