Chipper Program

Neighborhood Chipping Program for Fire-Prone Communities in San Mateo County

The Chipper Program through Fire Safe San Mateo is a collaborative effort between Woodside Fire Protection District, CAL FIRE, Fire Safe San Mateo 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 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.

GUIDELINES

To keep the program running smoothly and safely, there a few easy tips for homeowners participating in this program.

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 below for details on when the chipper visits your neighborhood. Make sure to give yourself enough time to cut and pile your vegetation.

DO

DON’T

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 located on the uphill side of 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 chipper location 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.

 

SELECT NEIGHBORHOODS

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
  • Butano Canyon

  • Middleton Tract
  • South Skyline communities can visit South Skyline Fire Safe Council’s website for more information on their Chipping Program

FAQ

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 no longer accepting new communities for 2018/2019. Contact info@firesafesanmateo.org, 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.