This year's brush fire threat has cities here in the valley taking a stand.

Yakima and surrounding cities are cracking down on overgrown brush, trying to prevent fires like those in Selah and Terrace Heights earlier. Property owners are being forced to keep their yards in check or pay up.

Brush fires don't need much help to get going in dry conditions. A spark from a car exhaust or a burning cigarette can be enough if there are trees, brush or grass to fuel the fire.

That's why the city of Yakima is doing its part to cut down tall grass, especially grass located close to homes.

Each city has a different standard for what's considered tall grass, but the best rule of thumb is: if you notice it, it's probably unsafe. The other thing they're looking for the color - the lighter the color, the easier it catches fire.

Codes officers are going around handing out citations to property owners with overgrown grass. The owners have roughly 45 days to cut it or pay the city to do it for them. City maintenance usually runs anywhere from $40 to a $100 depending on the size of the area.