Montecito Fire Department’s annual chipping program to begin Feb. 14
The Montecito Fire Department’s annual Neighborhood Chipping Program will begin February 14, as the department prepares for wildfire season by working with identified neighborhoods to assist residents in improving community defensible space.
A new interactive Neighborhood Chipping Map on montecitofire.com allows community members to type in their address to learn the start date of chipping in their neighborhood.
Every spring, the department partners with residents to prepare for the approaching high fire season and reduce the density of vegetation in strategically selected areas of roadways and private properties. The intent is to assist community members with maintaining defensible space around areas most at risk of severe impacts from wildfires.
The department also offers guidance to residents on how best to trim back vegetation along driveways and roadways with the goal of creating safer evacuation routes for the community as well as better access for first responders.
Residents will receive a Neighborhood Chipping Program postcard in the mail with specific dates the work will be done in each selected neighborhood. The postcard provides instructions for homeowners, including their responsibilities for cutting the vegetation, how and where to place cut material and what material cannot be chipped, including vines, grass, palms, succulents, firewood and other small trimmings. Those materials may be disposed of in roll-off containers that are provided as part of the program.
Montecito Fire will work in partnership with a contractor to complete the chipping work for the program. The contractor will work alongside the Wildland Fire Specialists throughout the 10-week program to chip material and facilitate the “Tag & Trim” portion of the program.
Low-hanging branches are identified, or “tagged,” by the Fire Department during routine neighborhood inspections. The contractor will then remove the flagged branches. Clearing these areas improves access for fire engines while also making it safer for residents to evacuate during a fire or other disaster.
Montecito Fire offers the Neighborhood Chipping Program to approximately 1,300 residents within the Very High Fire Severity Zone of the community. Reducing the volume of flammable vegetation creates more defensible and survivable space around a property and increases the entire community’s resilience to wildfires.
For more information about the Neighborhood Chipping Project or to schedule a complimentary Defensible Space Survey, please contact Wildland Fire Specialists: Maeve Juarez and Nic Elmquist at (805) 969-7762 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Katherine Zehnder