FIRESafe MARIN Launches all-new chipper program in 2020.
Chipper Report 2020 (newly released)
FIRESafe MARIN provides support for "Chipper Days" that allow us to assist communities, homeowner's associations, fire departments, and individual landowners with vegetation-fuel reduction to reduce wildfire hazards in Marin. In 2020 with funding support from the new Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority (MWPA), FIRESafe MARIN launched an ambitious new program to help residents dispose of fire-hazardous vegetation with FREE community curbside pick-up chipper days.
"I was thrilled to discover and sign up for this service. During the Woodward Fire, the presence and assistance of the fine folks doing the chipping as well as the folks handling communications and updates via email made a harrowing experience more manageable. That this service exists at all reinforces my belief that our tax dollars are being used wisely, and I applaud the county and all folks involved in making this happen. Cheers to everyone, and a very special thanks to those wonderful folks who were out on Silver Hills Road helping us all clean up our frontages and properties just before our evacuation." Inverness Park Resident
Register online (scheduled dates/locations only):
Coming soon! Please check back here for the 2021 schedule of curbside pick-up "Chipper Days".
*Note that our reservation system is based on Google Maps which often likes to place street addresses in the wrong town. As long as your registration confirmation is for the right event date, (eg. You live in Pt. Reyes and you are confirmed for Pt. Reyes on Nov. 11 event) we will pick up your pile in your town despite the fact that our system says the town may be different.
Firewise Site or jurisdiction
2021 dates coming soon!
- Pre-registration is required: Residents can register at https://www.chipperday.com/marin
- Signup is on a first-come, first-served basis. When we have reached our capacity, any additional registrants will be placed on a waitlist. Residents on the waitlist will not receive a pickup unless they receive a confirmation email due to a cancellation.
- Residents need to bring their one pile to their curb for the chipper pick up by 8 am the day we have scheduled for your site. Pickup could be delayed for 1-2 days due to the volume the chippers are processing.
- Your pile is limited to 10 feet x 4 feet x 4 feet in size. If a pile is larger than 10x4x4, the excess will be left for the resident to remove. Firewise sites run the risk of losing their chipper event the following year if there are too many size violations.
- Do not tie or bag your vegetation!
Watch our video with tips on making a proper chipper "pile" for pick-up at your home.
What CAN go in the chipper?
- Tree limbs up to 8” in diameter.
- Shrubs, brush, limbs, woody bushes, pampas grass, scotch broom, cypress, juniper, bamboo.
- Lay all vegetation the same way with the base of the branch or plant at the same end.
What WILL be taken but can't be put in the chipper?
- Cut roots from bamboo, cut roots with rock/gravel/dirt from plant- place next to pile.
- Palm fronds - place next to pile.
- What will NOT be taken for the safety of our crews?
- Trash, poison oak, blackberry brambles, firewood, construction materials, lumber, regular yard waste, leaves, lawn clippings.
Still Have Questions?
This is a benefit of MWPA and FireSafe Marin to prepare for the wildfire season, this free chipper event is not intended to remove all vegetation that residents wish or need to remove. Any portion of a pile greater than 10x4x4 feet will be left behind and will become the resident’s responsibility to remove.
2020 Chipper Program Background
The Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority (MWPA) has approved FIRESafe MARIN's request for $500,000 to conduct a curbside pickup chipping program for residents of Marin County. Our proposal stated that we would provide one chipper pick up service for each of Marin's Firewise USA Sites and provide two additional days of service to each of the 17 agencies that constitute the MWPA. The intent of the additional service is to more equitably distribute the program throughout the County and to allow the participating agencies to determine areas of need within their jurisdiction.
There are approximately 20,000 residences within Marin's 70+ Firewise communities. Based on our past experience managing chipper programs, we estimate that approximately 10% of homes in a given community will participate in a curbside chipping program. One contracted chipping crew is able to pick up, chip, and dispose of qualified vegetation from approximately 30 homes per day. Our budget allows us to provide a one-time curb service to approximately 2000 residences (10% of Firewise Sites) utilizing two contracted crews making 30 pickups each per day. In addition, our budget enables us to provide two crew days – each making 30 stops – to each of the 17 MWPA member agencies. Assuming a 10% participation rate, this allows us to service 500-600 non-Firewise homes in each of the 17 agencies.
Our chipper program begins Monday, July 6, and will end in November. Generally speaking, there are two crews working per day on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of each week. In some cases, we schedule additional work on a Friday to address unanticipated problems that may have come up earlier in the week. Our schedule is attached. Unfortunately given the late start date and high demand, we do not have flexibility to change dates.
Residents must register for the program through an online portal chipperday.com/marin. Registration is simple and the web page includes directions, guidelines, and a short instructional video on how to properly select and place vegetation for curbside pickup. Unregistered piles will not be picked up. Our software creates route maps for the contractors, tracks their progress, allows them to enter both a photo and an estimate of material, and produces reports on the amount of material processed, number of stops, addresses served, etc. The software allows up to 30 residences to register for each chipper “event” which is defined as the number of homes that one chipping crew can manage in one day. Approximately 250-350 homes will be geographically grouped to create a chipper event. Most dates will have two crews working allowing two events per day for a total of 60 pickups. There may be days when two events are combined for registration if it is a large or contiguous geographical area. Registrations open 14 calendar days before the date of the chipper event. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Registrations in excess of the daily allotment will automatically be placed on a waitlist. Residences on the waitlist will be scheduled for pickup only if there is a cancellation. There is not sufficient funding for us to guarantee service to every resident of Marin nor for every resident of a given Firewise site.
In order to stay within our allotted budget, we are forced to place a limitation on the amount and type of material. These limitations will be strictly enforced. If a pile exceeds our limit of 4x10x4 (6 cubic yards), we will pick up the first 6 cubic yards, but the resident will be responsible for disposal of the remainder of the material. We also have some restrictions on the type of material we can accept and the material must be free of dirt and rocks. Guidelines can be found on the registration site.
Our chipping program started in the Ross Valley area of Central Marin because FSM has conducted chipping programs in this area in the past and this experience gave us the best opportunity to beta test the program. After Central Marin we moved to Mill Valley and Southern Marin Fire District, again because FSM has worked with them closely in the past. This was the last chance for us to apply lessons learned before spreading to the rest of the County. Service to the remaining zones: San Rafael, Novato, and West Marin start on Monday, August 10. It is understandable that most of the remaining jurisdictions would like to have the service provided as soon as possible since we will are well into the fire season. In the interest of fairness, the remaining Firewise sites and jurisdictions were scheduled using a randomized computer program.