Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | December 22, 2015

Need Brush Chipped? It’s FREE!

From: PMVFD Fire Board –  If You Cut it, the PMVFD Will Chip it

You’ve gone out and cleared brush on your property to create defensible space around your house and now you have a pile of dead vegetation you want to turn into mulch. Who you gonna call? The Palomar Mountain Volunteer Fire Department (PMVFD), that’s who. If you cut it, they’ll chip it. The state of California has granted the PMVFD funds to help reduce the wildfire threat by chipping cleared vegetation on the mountain. What will this service cost you? The PMVFD will do it for free.

The way the program works is that property owners must cut and stack the vegetation, and the PMVFD will provide a fully insured crew and equipment to chip it on site. You don’t have to load it and haul it to a central location. It is important to note that this service is provided to homeowners as a safety measure, and is not meant as a low-cost alternative for businesses that want to use the PMVFD as a way to reduce their costs. That would violate the terms of the grant and jeopardize future grants. To use this service, the PMVFD has several requirements that protect the volunteers, professionals and equipment.

You must pile the material in an orderly manner in a place that is accessible for the chipper and its truck – it can’t be far from a road or deep in a canyon at the end of a coyote trail, for example. And PMVFD volunteers need to see the pile before chipping it, as there is some material that the chipper and crews can’t handle. See the

“GUIDELINES” at the end of this email.   If we receive more requests than we have time to chip, we will limit the chipping time available at any one location to, say, one hour.

If you believe you qualify for this program, email by January 20, 2016. Tell us your street address, easement road number if applicable, and when you expect to have your chipping pile ready for pre-chipping inspection.

We plan to inspect on January 21-22 and do the chipping the following week.

We also intend to do a second chipping round in April, with the deadline for that round being April 20, 2016.

This chipping program is funded by the State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fund, which helps pay for fire prevention projects, including reducing fire fuel. The PMVFD is a 501(c)(3) community service organization and PMVFD Board members who operate the chipping program are volunteers who are not compensated for their time. The PMVFD Board hires a trained, fully insured professional crew to operate the chipper.




 It is the intent of the PMVFD Board to chip vegetation deemed to be a fire hazard where a property owner has previously harvested vegetation, stacked it in an orderly fashion and has made it accessible for the chipping equipment on or near a graded roadway. Neither the PMVFD nor its contractor will haul harvested vegetation beyond 15 feet to the chipper, nor will it reduce the size of vegetation to fit in to the chipper. You must stack all your cuttings into piles with the cut ends facing the roadway. You must trim or limb large material. The resulting chips will be either removed or left in piles on site, as directed by the property owner. To participate, email by January 20, 2016.

The following materials are a partial list of what the PMVFD will not chip for the property owner under this program:

Hardwood trees trunks or shrub trunks larger than 4 inches in                 diameter.

Softwood trees trunks or shrub trunks larger than 6 inches in                diameter.

Pieces of vegetation or trees over 6 feet in length.

All fibrous vegetation including but not limited to palm trees,                 pampas grass, palm fronds, fountain grass, bamboo, arundo, all cactus, yucca, agave, etc.

Poison oak or other vegetation which is considered to be a chemical hazard.

Roots or any trunk with roots attached or material coated with dirt or rocks.

Piles of leaves, twigs or debris that may contain dirt or rocks.

Trees or trimmings from a commercial enterprise or orchard unless preapproved by the PMVFD Board.

Any construction wood and materials.

Vegetation transported onto the owner’s property from off the mountain;  combining piles with your neighbor is welcome and encouraged.

Vegetation or tree “canopies” larger than 3 feet across. Trees must be limbed to fit in to the chipper.

Any plant, tree, shrub or vegetation that is deemed to be a mechanical or safety hazard to the chipper or to the chipping crew.

The PMVFD reserves the right not to chip any vegetation or materials.

This list may not be the entire list of materials and vegetation we won’t chip. If you have questions, please check with the PMVFD. The decision to chip or not to chip vegetation will be made by the PMVFD and the Equipment Leader on site in their sole discretion. Chipping and disposal of any and all vegetation not chipped by this program will be the responsibility of the property owner.

To participate, email by January 20, 2016.


  1. Hi Bonnie, I tried sending an e-mail to the link you included (I copied and pasted the address) and it came back to me twice. Sounds like a good program. thanks, marcia

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