by Diane Tuazon
HOBBS, NEW MEXICO - High weeds, broken vehicles, and trash laying around on your property is a red flag for city officials. They're targeting anything that's a fire hazard.
"We go house to house with all our officers and identify areas and identify any ordinances and give warnings if we have to," Chief Ernie Wheeler with the Hobbs Fire Dept. said.
Chief Wheeler says they'll give out notices and residents will have up to two weeks to clean up the mess, otherwise they could face some hefty fines.
"If we give a citation, they have to go to court and face fines of up to $500," Wheeler said.
City officials say the code enforcement is meant to remind residents to keep their property clean and prepare for the fire season ahead.
"We have police officers out everyday identifying any high grass areas," Wheeler said.
Some residents agree having all that mess around houses is hazardous and enforcing the code is a good thing.
"We seem to have a problem, since there's no zoning; who's to say that somebody won't throw a cigarette and catch it on fire. It's a matter of their safety," Hobbs Resident, Jennifer Berry, said.
Chief Wheeler says they hope this code enforcement will have long lasting benefits in addition to addressing safety concerns.
"We're taking this aggressive approach. We want people to say it's a nice town," Chief Wheeler said.