As the severe drought continues to grip California, residents of an Altadena neighborhood have been told for more than a year to conserve water.
Residents have dutifully installed water-stingy sprinklers and drip irrigation systems. Others have let their lawns go completely brown.
So it came as a surprise to some when they received a letter from LA County's fire chief late last month asking them to "judiciously water plants and ornamental vegetation in accordance with your local water restriction ordinances" - effectively asking neighbors to keep their lawns and gardens crisp without going overboard.
In the foothills above Pasadena, fires are a constant concern. In his letter, Fire Chief Daryl. L. Osby said if plant life is tinder dry because residents have stopped watering their plants altogether, fires can be even more devastating than they have in the past.
More than 52,000 households received the letter, in neighborhoods from Santa Clarita to Glendora and Azusa to Altadena.
Some residents said the message is mixed when it comes to watering or not.
"That's kind of confusing because you tell me to stop and now you just want me to leave it on," one neighbor said.