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Chipper Program Guidelines

Permit Sonoma Fire Prevention

Applications Now Open for 2022 Chipper Season

Thank you for your interest in the free Curbside Chipper Program. Chipper Applications are now open for the 2022 season!

Be sure to read the program guidelines below BEFORE submitting an application to make sure that you qualify. Please include digital images of woodpiles and the distance of woodpiles from the curb with your application. You can check for your application status on the 2022 Chipper Program Dashboard 24 hours after submission.

Submit Online Application Button

This program is intended to help residents create defensible space around occupied homes and reduce vegetation along access routes.
We will chip for up to 2 hours with no charge to the resident! Jobs longer than 2 hours may be the responsibility of the property owner. 

NEW CHANGES THIS SEASON:

  • Online application submittal only, no paper applications accepted.
  • Submit digital photos along with your application. 1-2 of the woodpile(s), and 1 photo showing the pile’s distance from the curbside.
  • The crew will work in designated zones each week.
  • ALL application submissions will be first-come, first-serve based on zoning.
  • 2022 Chipper Program Dashboard - Application status will be made available 24 hours after submission. 

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

Guidelines

Please read the following guidelines below.

Piles not meeting the guidelines or containing material not approved will be denied service, the applicant can reapply once the piles have been corrected according to the chipping crew's instructions. Once an application is received it will be inspected for compliance. If the piles are not ready by the time of the inspection the application will be denied, the applicant will have to reapply once the piles are ready. The crew will chip up to a maximum of 2 hours on a single visit. A pile 50 (fifty feet) long, 2-3 (two-three feet) tall and approximately 8 (eight feet) wide can be completed in about 2 hours. The crew may opt to return at a later date or ask the remaining material be chipped at the applicant's expense. Piles must be ready prior to application submittal.

Things that CAN go in your pile: Things that CAN NOT go in your pile:
  • The chipper can handle UP TO 4-inches in diameter and UP TO 10-feet long

  • We should be able to chip a pile about 50-feet long x 2-3 feet tall x 10-feet wide within the 2-hour limit

  • 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

  • No Oleander

  • No bamboo

  • No palm tree fronds

  • No poisonous species or other vines

  • No material entangled in vines

  • No spiny plants, roses, and/or blackberries

  • No Scotch/French broom or gorse

  • No construction-type wood, such as fence posts or 2x4's

  • No rocks, dirt, and/or mud

  • No rakings or piles of needles, leaves, and/or grass

  • No fire debris, burned logs, and/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

Stacking Your Piles 

  • Take digital photos of your pile(s) to submit along with your application.
  • Do not make piles more than 2'-3' (two-three feet) tall, 8’-0” deep, and with a row no longer than 50 feet.
  • Piles must be stacked with the cut ends facing the same direction, pointing towards the access route, preferably on the uphill side.
  • Cut material can be between 4'-0" (four feet) wide and 10'-0" (ten feet) wide.
  • Within 10 feet of chipper access - crews should not have to drive off the driveway or work around obstructions.
  • Do not use equipment (for example, tractors) to stack piles.

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 chipper cannot go up very steep slopes and the crew cannot access piles that are not adjacent to an accessible road or driveway.

  • Please take a digital photo of your pile(s) placement to include the curb or driveway, and submit it along with your application.
  • 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.
  • If our chipper cannot access your piles, your application will be denied and you will be responsible for disposing of your piles.
  • 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 to chip locations will be the determination of the chipping crew.
  • Unchipped material will be the responsibility of the property owner for disposal.
  • You do not have to be home when the chipper comes.
  • The program is intended to address access routes and defensible space. There may be limits on the hours the chipper may spend at any one property; 2 hours maximum unless scheduling permits.
  • 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 Service Program.
  • Please contact us if you have any questions.