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Chipper Program Guidelines

Permit Sonoma Fire Prevention

Chipper Program Application Portal is Closed

Thank you for your interest in the free Curbside Chipper Program. Chipper Applications are currently closed. Check back in for the next chipper season starting in spring 2023. If you have a pending 2022 chipping service application, you can check for your application status on the 2022 Curbside Chipper Program Dashboard 24 hours after submission.

Confirm Your Application was Received and Check Your Chipping Job Status

Twenty four hours after the submission of your application, you can check receipt and status on the Curbside Chipper Program Dashboard. Please use this automated self-service tool to check on the status of your chipping application. Your submitted application acknowledges you understand chipping jobs are completed throughout fire season (there is no schedule or appointments made), and that you have followed all program guidelines.

In order to provide this free chipping service to as many properties in unincorporated Sonoma County as we can, this program does not schedule chipping appointments. Customers are not required to be home for the crew to complete chipping jobs. All of the information needed is included in your application. If  there is a gate at your property be sure to provide your gate code. The crew might call you if the need arises, but often you’ll discover your pile(s) have been chipped without contact from the crew.

About the Application

  • Online application submittal only, no paper applications accepted.
  • Submit digital photos along with your application. One or two photos of the woodpile(s), and one photo displaying the pile’s distance from the access route. Submitting  digital photos of your pile and pile placement with the application may speed the application process.
  • The crew will work in designated zones each week.
  • ALL application submissions will be first-come, first-serve based on zoning.
  • Curbside Chipper Program Dashboard - Application status will be made available 24 hours after submission. 
  • You may be able to request a second day of chipper service for large jobs.

Phone: (707) 565-6070
Email: Chipper@sonoma-county.org

Guidelines

Please read the guidelines below before creating your chipper pile.

Piles must be ready prior to application submittal. Once an application is received the piles will be inspected for compliance to the guidelines. Service may be denied, or corrections required if piles are not stacked or placed according to the guidelines, or if they contain prohibited materials (see below). If the piles are not ready by the time of the inspection, the application will be denied, and the applicant will have to reapply once the piles are ready. The crew can chip a pile of no more than 50-feet long, 3-feet tall, and 10-feet wide in about two hours. The crew may opt to return at a later date or ask that the remaining material be removed at the applicant's expense.

Things that CAN go in your pile: Things that CANNOT go in your pile:
  • The chipper program is intended for trees and brush cut to create or maintain defensible space.
  • The chipper can handle trees or brush up to 4-inches in diameter and up to 10-feet long.
  • Freshly cut and stacked materials chip much better than old, dry wood. If your piles have been in place for a long time and/or contain a lot of old, dry material, our crews may not be able to chip them.
    • No nails, wires, or any metal pieces!
    • No roots or stumps.
    • No Poison Oak or other poisonous species.
    • No vines or materials entangled with vines.
    • No Oleander.
    • No bamboo or fibrous materials such as palm tree fronds.
    • No spiny plants, roses, or blackberries.
    • No Scotch/French broom or gorse.
    • No construction-type wood (Example:fence posts or 2x4s).
    • No rocks, dirt, and/or mud.
    • No rakings or piles of needles, leaves, and/or grass.
    • No fire debris, burned logs, branches, or trees from past fires.
    • No firewood or logs cut into wood rounds.
    • No wood older than a year.
    • You WILL be responsible for disposing of any unchipped materials.

    Placement of Piles

    Piles must be placed along road or driveway frontages so that crews can work safely without the need for additional personnel, signage, or road closure permits. The crew will not chip piles that are more than 10-feet from an accessible road or driveway. The chipper cannot go up very steep slopes.

    • Do not place piles where they might block roadways or access.
    • Do not put piles within 10-feet of power poles.
    • The chipper and truck must be able to get to a place they can turn around.
    • Place piles within 10-feet of chipper access, preferably on the uphill side of the road or driveway. Crews should not have to drive off the driveway or work around obstructions.
    • If our chipper cannot access your piles, your application will be denied.
    • Disposal of any unchipped material is the responsibility of the property owner.
    • All material chipped will be blown back onto the property in a place the crew deems practical and safe. You are responsible for spreading out the piles of chips. Special accommodations for chip locations will be the determination of the chipping crew.
    • You do not have to be home when the chipper comes.
    • The crew has the right to deny chipper service when the application or service area is outside the scope of the program or does not meet the guidelines of the Free Curbside Chipper Service Program.
    • Please contact us if you have any questions by phone at (707) 565-6070 or through Email at Chipper@sonoma-county.org.

    Stacking Your Piles

    • Piles must be no more than 3-feet tall, 10-feet wide, and with rows no longer than 50-feet.
    • The chipper can chip wood up to 10-feet long and 4-inches in diameter. It is quicker for the crew to chip one 10-foot branch then multiple short lengths. Materials should be between 4-feet long and 10-feet long.
    • Piles must be stacked with the cut ends facing the same direction, pointing towards the access route, preferably on the uphill side.
    • Do not use large equipment, such as tractors or bobcats, to stack piles.
    • When your piles are complete, take digital photos of your pile(s) to submit along with your application.