Cut it! Stack it! We chip it!

Establishing defensible space creates a buffer and reduces the risk of fire transmission to and around your home. Defensible space allows firefighters to more safely protect your home from fire. The Neighborhood Chipper Program is a free program offered to Yolo County residents to assist in biomass reduction of debris from defensible space and fuels reduction.

What is the Neighborhood Chipper Program?

The Neighborhood Chipper Program is a hazardous fuels reduction service (available to folks living in the high fire areas of Yolo County) that helps landowners manage vegetation after creating defensible space around their homes. Residents are responsible for cutting down vegetation, in accordance with CALFIRE Defensible Space Best Practices and stacking their debris piles. Once the piles are ready for chipping, residents submit a request through the form (below) and the YCFSC Chipper Crew will visit to chip the piles back onto the property.

The Importance of Defensible Space

Fire safety starts in the home. This is particularly true for the wildland-urban interface (WUI), the area where urban- suburban development meets undeveloped, natural wildlands. By creating defensible space around your home (at least 100 feet out from your home), you are increasing a structure’s resistance to wildfire. Although creating defensible space cannot guarantee a structure’s survival during a wildfire, it can give firefighters more time to defend a home and saves firefighter’s lives.

Who can participate?

This free program is offered to folks living in the high fire areas of Yolo County which includes communities throughout the Capay Valley, Western Esparto, West Winters, and select areas of Dunnigan and Zamora. To see if your home qualifies for chipping, visit the Fire Hazard Severity Zones tab on the Yolo County Community Base Map, linked below or contact Alli Permann, RCD Outreach Coordinator, at permann@yolorcd.org or call 530-661-1688 x20.

Yolo County Fire Hazard Severity Zones

The Do’s and Don’ts of Chipping

DO:

  • Create defensible space 100 feet out from your home.
  • Create piles that are no more than 50 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 5 feet high.
  • Include brush and tree limbs that are no more than 6 inches in diameter.
  • Stage piles in an easily accessible area at least 10 feet from a road.

DON’T:

  • Do not include roots, stumps, rocks, mud, or vining materials in piles. 
  • Piles of needs, leaves, or yard clippings will not be chipped. 
  • Piles must be free of non-vegetative materials (trash, metal, wire).
  • This program will not chip limbs or brush for projects not related to defensible space or hazardous fuels reduction. 

Request a Visit from the Chipper Below:

Guidelines for Piles: 

  1. Chipping Crews will visit a property for up to 3 hours in one visit.
  2. Maximum pile size is 50 feet long, 10 feet wide and 5 feet high.
  3. The chipper can handle material up to 6 inches in diameter and up to 10 feet in length.
  4. Piles must be easily accessible from a private road, driveway, or lane and must be 10 feet of the access road.
  5. Face the cut ends of the cut materials all in the same direction and point the cut ends towards the road.
  6. Piles must be limited to brush and tree limbs from the property itself. Stringy vine type brush, such as poison oak, construction materials, leaves, grass clippings, etc. may foul or damage the chipper.
  7. Materials will be chipped back onto property- homeowners are responsible to thinly spread chips in accordance with CALFIRE’s Defensible Space Zones.
  8. This free chipping service is for residential use only and not for a commercial enterprise. This program is only intended for those attempting to perform hazardous fuels reduction/100 feet defensible space.

More Yolo County FSC Programs

Defensible Space Assessments

Defensible Space Assessments are non-regulatory, non-judgmental, and educational with the goal of assessing your home’s vulnerability to wildfire and embers.

Reflective Address Sign Program

Yolo County Fire Safe Council is offering free reflective signs for your home. These reflective signs are visible in smoky conditions and at night, allowing emergency officials to find your home in case of an evacuation before or during a fire.

A properly stacked pile of debris – abiding by stacking requirements makes it easier for the Chipper Crew to process piles.