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Defensible Space Chipping Program

The Shasta County Fire Safe Council is excited to begin providing a free curbside chipping program to Shasta County residents, with the goal of assisting homeowners in improving defensible space around their homes. Communities with Firewise recognition, or those working towards Firewise recognition, will be eligible for this service as grant funding allows.

If your community has been announced to receive an upcoming chipping program, you must complete the application at the bottom of this page to participate. If you would like to have your community participate in this program, please contact us. As this program is supported by grants and donations, it can only be provided when assets are available. 

May contain: nature, outdoors, bulldozer, transportation, vehicle, and tractor

Do you live in the community of Dusty Oaks Trail in Bella Vista or O'Brien Mountain Estates in Lakehead? If so, your community has been selected for an upcoming chipper day and you may apply below to participate. Please only apply if you live in these communities.

Participation is first come, first served and will be capped at 25 households per community. You will be notified via email if your application has been approved. Prior to chipping activities, an additional questionnaire and liability release form will be emailed to you. The Defensible Space Chipping Program is a pilot project, meaning that we are still learning about the best ways that we can serve communities through this program - by participating you are helping us to create a program that will hopefully become a mainstay in Shasta County. For questions regarding the chipping program, please contact Sarah Sumner at


Please read and familiarize yourself with the following guidelines before applying:
  1. Material for piles should come from within 100 feet of the home, and/or 30 feet from access roads.
  2. Piles must be hand stacked and free of all roots, stumps, rocks and mud.
  3. Cut ends must face the same direction, with the large end pointing out towards the chipper location.
  4. Piles must be located on the uphill side of the road or driveway.
  5. Each household is allowed three piles. Maximum pile size is 4 feet high, 8 feet long, and 10 feet deep. Alternately, you may create one long pile that is no longer than 24 feet. Long piles must still be a maximum of 4 feet high and 10 feet deep.
  6. Cut ends of material must be 6 inches in diameter or less. No small logs or firewood sized pieces.
  7. Piles must be within 5-feet of the road or driveway. Do not stack piles so that they are intruding into the roadway.
  8. Alternately, material may be hauled and piled at a centralized location within the community - this must be understood and agreed upon by SCFSC and the Firewise community prior to commencment of any work.
  9. Piles may be along main roads, or driveways, with the following stipulations: Chipping contractor will drive no farther than 0.25 miles down a driveway to chip piles. All driveways with piles must be accessible to the contractor on the day of chipping, and there must be adequate space for the chipper to turn around. 
  10. Make sure to visually inspect all trees, branches or shrubs for signs of nesting birds prior to cutting. If a nest is found, do not do any cutting within 50 feet of the nest until the chicks have fledged. Do not attempt to move or disturb the nest in any way. It is unlawful to needlessly destroy the nest of any nesting bird - CDFW Code 3503.
  11. The SCFSC contractor cannot chip piles of leaves, pine needles, or light or wet yard clippings.
  12. Piles must be free of poison oak, Scotch or French broom after it seeds, blackberry, and other vines.
  13. The SCFSC contractors cannot chip commercial timber harvest debris, material from commercial orchards, or construction materials. 
  14. Piles must be free of all non-vegetative materials (trash, tarps, metal, wire, etc.).
  15. Make sure you are done stacking your piles at least seven days before the scheduled chipping day. Notify your community Firewise leader when piles are complete.

Please make sure all the rules are followed. They exist because of contractor limitations, safety, and grant requirements. Failure to follow these rules will likely disqualify your piles from being chipped.

The photos below show examples of properly stacked piles. Correctly done, the limbs can be easily pulled from the top of the pile. The limbs must be hand fed into the chipper so your piles must be stacked by hand. No machine stacked piles!

May contain: plant
May contain: vegetation, plant, tree, woodland, outdoors, forest, land, nature, bush, grove, and conifer
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