Permit Sonoma Fire Prevention

Chipper Program Guidelines

This program is intended to help residents create defensible space around occupied homes and reduce vegetation along access routes.
We will chip for up to 2 hours with no charge to the resident! Jobs longer than 2 hours may be the responsibility of the property owner. 


  • Online application submittal only through SoCo Report It, no paper applications accepted
  • Crew will work in designated zones each week
  • Application submissions will be first come, first serve based on zoning
  • Coming soon......Click here to see what zone you're in and what week the crew will be in your zone

You can sign up for the chipper program by submitting a request using SoCo Report It. For assistance with your application or for more information about creating defensible space, please contact us!

Phone: (707) 565-6070


Chipper Season UPDATE

Thank you for your interest in the Residential Chipper Program. If you submitted an application prior to 7/13/2020 your application will be processed in the order it was received. Although the program is currently open and operating,  we are closing the online application submittal. We have reached our capacity of residents to serve. This year, more residents requested to participate in the program than ever before. We will continue to chip until all applicants who applied before July 13, 2020 have been served. 


Please read the following guidelines.

The crew will chip up to a maximum of 2 hours on a single visit. A pile 50 (fifty feet) long, 3 (three feet) tall and approximately 8 (eight feet) wide can be completed in about 2 hours. The crew may opt to return at a later date or ask the remaining material be chipped at the applicants expense. Piles must be ready prior to application submittal.

Piles not meeting the guidelines or containing material not approved will be denied service, the applicant can reapply once the piles have been corrected according to the chipping crews instructions. Once an application is received it will be inspected for compliance. If the piles are not ready by the time of the inspection the application will be denied, the applicant will have to reapply once the piles are ready.

Things that can go in your piles:

  • The chipper can handle material UP TO 4 inches in diameter and UP TO 10 feet long.
  • We should be able to chip a pile about 50 feet long x 3 feet tall x 10 feet wide within the 2 hour limit.
  • Freshly cut and stacked materials chip much better than old dry wood. If your piles have been in place for a long time and/or contain a lot of old dry material, our crews may not be able to chip them.

Things that cannot go in your piles:

  • No nails, wires, or any metal pieces!!!
  • No roots or stumps
  • No Poison Oak
  • No Oleander
  • No Bamboo
  • No poisonous species or other vines
  • No spiny plants, roses or blackberries
  • No Scotch/French broom or gorse
  • No construction-type wood such as fence posts or 2x4s.
  • No rocks, dirt and mud
  • No rakings or piles of needles, leaves or grass
  • You will be responsible for disposing of any unchipped materials.

Stacking Your Piles

  • Do not make piles more than 3'-0" (three feet) tall, 8’-0” deep, and with row no longer than 50 feet.
  • Piles must be stacked with the cut ends facing the same direction, pointing towards access route, preferably on the uphill side.
  • Cut material can be between 4'-0" (four feet) wide and 10'-0" (ten feet) wide.
  • Within 5 feet of chipper access

Chipper Pile Info

Placement of Piles

Piles must be placed along road or driveway frontages so that crews can work SAFELY without need for additional personnel, signage or road closure permits. The chipper cannot go up very steep slopes. We cannot access piles that are not adjacent to an accessible road or driveway.

  • Do not place piles where they might block roadways or access!
  • Do not 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 feet of chipper access, preferably on the uphill side of road or driveway
  • If our chipper cannot access your piles, your application will be denied and you will be responsible for disposing of your piles.
  • All material chipped will be blown back onto the property in a place the crew deems practical and safe. You are responsible for spreading out the piles of chips. Special accommodations to chip locations will be the determination of the chipping crew.
  • Unchipped material will be the responsibility of the property owner for disposal.
  • You do not have to be home when the chipper comes.
  • 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; 2 hours maximum unless schedule permits.
  • The crew has the right to deny chipper service when the application or service area is outside the scope of the program or does not meet the guidelines of the Free Service Program.
  • Please contact us if you have any questions.

Contact Information

James Williams
Fire Warden/Fire Marshal

Permit and Resource Management Department

County of Sonoma

Contact us by Phone
Monday – Friday
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM