San Diego

County Offers Free Chipping to Help Prevent Wildfire Spread

San Diego County wants to make it easier for residents in wildfire-prone areas to clear potentially threatening brush from their home. 

The Fire Safe Council of San Diego County (FSCSDC) is offering no-cost chipping services to residents who live in the most vulnerable areas of the county.

The goal is to help homeowners create a defensible space -- a 100-foot perimeter around a home clear of brush and debris that acts as a barrier between a structure and advancing fire, according to the county of San Diego. 

Creating a defensible space is required by law in San Diego County. 

Pope Tree Service is one of the companies working with the county to offer the service.

Dustin Pope said his parents know what it's like to lose a home to fire.

"To know that we are part of something in this county to reduce fuel and stop fires, of course, that’s something we take to heart," he said.

There are two types of chipping programs offered to San Diegans. 

The first is through the FSCSDC website. While the council currently has a backlog of about 100 homes to chip, applications are still being accepted. Applications will also be accepted over the phone at 619-562-0096.

The second program is being offered through the 2018-19 cycle thanks to a $1.36 million grant from the U.S. Forest Service. 

To receive these chipping services, residents must first determine if their home is eligible through the Sunrise Powerlink Grants tool here. If a home is eligible, a link to an application will appear on the website. 

In both cases, residents must have their defensible space cleared and piles of material ready to be chipped before their applications are submitted. 

Once the application is approved, the FSCSDC will schedule a crew visit to conduct the chipping on-site. The chipping materials will be left on site and can be used as mulch. 

Find out more about both programs here

For Alpine residents, the Greater Alpine Fire Safe Council also has a chipping program available.

The FSCSDC offers other services to those in fire-prone areas, including the Defensible Space Assistance Program that helps low-income senior citizens and disabled residents create a defensible  space. 

There are also workshops that can help residents better prepare for wildfires. Find the full list of offerings here.  

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