The following is a letter from Scott Cratty, executive director of the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council.
The Mendocino County Fire Safe Council is thrilled to announce ChipperDay.com/Mendocino,
your gateway to FREE chipper days. Registration is now available for chipper days in the Ukiah
Valley through April.
Would your home survive a wildfire? It is possible, and it does happen—and awareness and
preparation substantially increase your chances. It starts with your work to “harden” your
home against wildfire and to create Defensible Space. The Mendocino County Fire Safe Council
can reduce the cost of removing dangerous vegetation near your home by chipping the brush
you cut. To participate, go to ChipperDay.com/Mendocino, simply enter your address, and
reserve a spot. To facilitate crew planning, you must make your reservation a week before a
scheduled chipper day.
To create Defensible Space around your home, as mandated by California State law (PRC 4291),
you must clear brush and “ladder fuels” that can spread fires from the ground upward. You are
required to reduce fire hazards for 100 feet around all structures on your property. Ideally, you
should clear all flammable material from the first 5 feet around all structures on your property,
and then continue lowering, thinning and spacing out vegetation up to 100 feet from the
A number of websites offer information to step you through the process, including
firesafemendocino.org, readyforwildfire.org, and defensiblespace.org. Neighbors joining in
work days to clear each other’s spaces can be a very effective approach, and more fun than
Once you have thinned and spaced vegetation, you need to remove the resulting brush piles
before they become yet another fire hazard.
The Fire Safe Council’s free chipper days remove brush piles for residents who have signed up
for a scheduled event and properly piled the brush by their roadsides. Chipper days save you
the considerable expense of privately hiring chipper services yourself, or the time and cost of
hauling the material to green waste disposal. They help motivate you to get the work done, and
give you peace of mind in knowing you’ve improved wildfire safety for yourself, your loved
ones, your property and your neighbors.
MCFSC recently installed new software that allows you to easily and quickly see the chipper-day
schedule, and to sign up online so that you will be on the list for upcoming chipper days. On a
chipper day professional crews will come by and chip the piles that you and your neighbors
have left for them, either hauling away or broadcasting the chips in place as mulch. We ask for
a cash donation from you to help us stretch our funding dollars to continue this work, but
donations are not required. See more details at
If you belong to a Neighborhood Fire Safe Council (NFSC), you’ve already taken a step in the
right direction. Among other benefits, NFSCs can boost your chances of getting a chipper day
scheduled where you live. Find out if your neighborhood has one—or how to start your own if it
doesn’t—by visiting: https://firesafemendocino.org/neighborhood-fire-safe-councils-of-
Currently scheduled chipper days for the Ukiah Valley, but we plan to offer more days
throughout the county in the near future. If there is not currently a day scheduled for your area
you can still use ChipperDay.com/Mendocino to indicate that you would like to be notified as
soon as the service becomes available. Signing up will tell us where the service is most in
demand, and help us prioritize scheduling additional days as funding becomes available.
Please note that this program is intended for critical fire safety-work only—reducing fuel loads
within 100 feet of homes and other structures (the legally mandated defensible space) and
along main access driveways—and not for helping clear brush from larger acreage.
Support for our current chipper day opportunities comes from PG&E and the California
Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) as part of the California Climate
Questions may be directed to MCFSC staff at [email protected] or 707-462-3662.