Chipper Program

Neighborhood Curbside Chipping Program

The Chipper Program through Fire Safe San Mateo is a collaborative effort between Fire Safe San Mateo, Woodside Fire Protection District, CAL FIRE, San Mateo Resource Conservation District and South Skyline Fire Safe Council. The program provides no-cost chipping to select neighborhoods to assist homeowners in maintaining defensible space. Funds for this program are through grant and local funding by program partners.

The FIRE SAFE San Mateo County chipping program is based on a “you cut, we chip” model. Home owners are responsible for cutting, gathering and piling vegetation from around their homes to a roadside location. FIRE SAFE San Mateo County will provide chipping crews who visit neighborhood-by-neighborhood to chip vegetation either back on site or for removal.

SIGN UP - Select Neighborhoods Only

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (650) 712-7765 x 124 with the following information:

  • Name
  • Email Address
  • Telephone Number (home or cell)
  • Address
  • Neighborhood (El Granada, Montara, Butano Canyon, Other)
  • Information about chipping piles such as location, size, number of piles, any special requirements. Piles must be along a public or private roadway, driveway or lane with easy turn-around for a 10 wheel truck and 15-ft chipper. Indicate any special requirements below.
  • Gate code (if needed)
  • Mulch placement (in a pile near original brush pile, remove chips , broadcast over large area nearby)


Neighborhoods are chosen based on a risk-asset model for communities in unincorporated areas. New neighborhoods may be added as funding becomes available. Funding for 2019 includes the below neighborhoods.

  • For communities within Woodside Fire District (Woodside, Vista Verde, La Honda, Portola Valley, Emerald Hills, Skyline) visit the Woodside Fire District website for information on treatment schedules.
  • El Granada, Montara, Moss Beach, Princeton and Miramar  - August 29th and 30th, 2019
  • Butano Canyon - August 1st & 2nd, 2019
  • South Skyline communities can visit South Skyline Fire Safe Council’s website for more information on their Chipping Program


To keep the program running smoothly and safely, there a few easy tips for homeowners participating in this program. Not adhearing to the guidelines may result in your pile not being chipped.

Removing vegetation: Give yourself a few weekends to do vegetation maintenance around your yard.
Piling Vegetation: For this program, homeowners need to pile vegetation in a 10 ft wide, 10 ft long and 5 ft tall pile.
Chipping Schedule: Chipping is scheduled street by street for Spring and Fall. See above for details on when the chipper visits your neighborhood. Make sure to give yourself enough time to cut and pile your vegetation.



Create defensible space to about 100 feet from structures & 30 feet from access roads.

Piles must be free of all roots, stumps, rocks and mud.

Cut ends must face the same direction and point out toward the chipper location.

Piles must be free of poison oak, Scotch broom after it seeds, blackberry and vines.

Piles must be easily accessible from a private road, driveway, or lane with good access. 

Piles of leaves, pine needles or yard clippings cannot be chipped

Piles must be within 8 feet of the road and 5 feet or less in height and about 10 feet long (10x10x5 minimum)

Piles must be free of all non-vegetative materials (trash, metal, wire, etc).

Material to be chipped must be less than 8 inches in diameter. 

FSSMC will not chip for: timber harvest projects, tree farms, new construction or vacant lots.


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Who does the chipping? Chipping is done by professional contractors or CAL FIRE crews.

How do I get a chipping program for my community? The Chipping Program is looking for new communities for 2019 and 2020. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., for advice on how you can develop a chipping program for your community. Funding for chipping programs is generally reserved for high priority, fire risk communities.