0 Items

Mendocino County Fire Safe Council’s Neighborhood Chipping Days are quickly becoming an essential service.  The program encourages residents to take defensible space into their own hands by offering free service from a chipper & chipper crew to process limbs and brush that residents remove to improve their defensible space. This service, which might cost each neighbor acting individually hundreds of dollars and require many individual disposal trips, makes vegetation management around the county more accessible and has generated thousands of hours of volunteer labor.

Mendocino County has a unique mix of wilderness, agriculture, & rural subdivisions, putting nearly all our communities at risk of Wildfire. While most counties worry about places where Wildlands and Urban areas come together (known as the Wildland Urban Interface or WUI), the entirety of Mendocino County integrates homes & businesses with woodlands & forests, making defensible space work essential.  In a survey taken after neighborhood Chipper Days, 70% of people said that they would not have removed the vegetation without the motivation of the Chipper Day service and 85% reported that the Chipper Day inspired them to take additional steps to help reduce their risk from wildfire. On average, residents who benefitted from the services spent 14.6 hours working to reduce the fuel load around their homes & primary access routes.  Given that a Chipper Day typically serves about 10 residents, the 149 service days provided in 2021 equate to over 21,700 hours of volunteer time devoted to top priority wildfire prevention work — the reduction of fuel sources immediately around our homes and along key access roads. These Chipper Days have been met with overwhelming support from the community, with over 97% of people who received the service reporting a five-star experience.

The Mendocino County Fire Safe Council is proud to have partnered with the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians which, along with Family Tree Resources, delivered the work.  Funding for the service in 2021 was provided by grants from PG&E, by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as part of the California Climate Investment Program (CCIP) and with support from Mendocino County and from MCFSC members. The program will continue into the new year and neighborhoods can sign up for future dates at https://www.chipperday.com/mendocino.