Chipper Program

The Modoc Fire Safe Council implements the Chipper Program during fire season through grant funds obtained from federal, state, or local resources. MFSC operates this program under the Residential Chipping Program, which aims to encourage homeowners to be proactive in making their properties more fire safe by creating a 100 feet defensible space around their homes and/or structures. 

Create defensible space by clearing brush 30′-100′ from buildings and 20′ from roads. Please refer to the CalFire “Prepare for Wildfire” pamphlet (click here to download a copy) for further guidance on creating defensible space. Participants in the program should have a residence on the property. 

However, the debris if left sitting around could make for great fire fuel. MFSC will assist the homeowners by chipping the slash piles that resulted out of the homeowners’ efforts in reducing hazardous fuels around their homes and/or structures. 

This program is open to all homeowners of Modoc County at a cost share of 50%. To take advantage of our Residential Chipping Program, please read through all the guidelines listed here. Once you are sure that your project meets the guidelines, you can proceed to submit a Residential Chipping Program Request Form. 

  • If you live close to a main road, piles must be placed along road or driveway frontages so that the MFSC Defensible Space contractor can work safely without need for additional personnel signage, or road closure permits. 
  • Do not place piles where they might block roadways or access.
  • Don’t 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 5-6 feet of chipper access, preferably on the uphill side of road.  

Stacking your piles

  • Do not make piles more than 4 feet tall.
  • Piles should be stacked with the cut ends facing the same direction, pointing towards access route (see pictures below). 

Things that CAN go in your piles

  • Freshly cut materials chip better than old dry material. Piles that have been in place for a long time (a year or so) may not be chipped by MFSC.
  • The chipper can handle material up to 10 inches in diameter. 

Things that CANNOT go in your piles

  • No roots or stumps. 
  • No rocks, dirt and mud. 
  • No poison oak and other vines. 
  • No spiny plants, roses or blackberries.
  • No Scotch/French Broom or gorse.  Chipping scotch broom and other invasive weeds can spread their seeds. 
  • No nails, wires or any metal piece. 
  • No construction-type wood such as fence posts or 2x4s.
  • No rakings or piles of needles, leaves or grass. You will be responsible for disposing of any unchipped materials.  

All material chipped will be blown back onto the property in a place the MFSC contractor deems practical and safe. You are responsible for spreading out the piles of chips. 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. Please be as accurate as possible with the information you provide on your application. You are responsible for following environmental regulations concerning vegetation removal.

The Residential Chipping Program will be open annually between June 1 through October 31 (depending on funding availability).

If you want to avail of this service, fill out and submit the “Residential Chipping Program” Request Form, accessible by clicking here. Then mail to the address shown at the top of the Request Form, or call the Modoc Fire Safe Council at (530) 233-5516.

Fire Safe Council Chipping Slash Piles
Fire Safe Council Chipping Slash Piles in Modoc County