This has been the most popular year for chipping so far – seeing double the participation of years past. During the first week of the program, there was a 43 percent increase in chipping volume over last year.
Summit County sends chipping teams to pick up trees and branches cut and discarded by homeowners to chip them on-site and haul the material away. The program started in 2014 to encourage homeowners to create defensible space against wildfires.
Summit County’s chipping program began on June 26th this year. Crews have been doing their rounds, going to every residential street in the area looking for piles to pick up, process and then take away.
Chipping crews have been putting in a tremendous amount of work, operating on evenings and weekends to address the volume. The chipping personnel is being doubled from four to eight to deal with the workload and is still in the process of adding more capacity, in the form of labor and equipment.
Chipping programs have become increasingly popular in wildfire-prone areas around the country. Aside from the homeowner benefit of creating defensible space around their homes, firefighters have fewer homes to worry about defending if a wildfire manages to reach neighborhoods.
Not Much Time Left
For anyone who left their piles out on schedule, but never saw them picked up, Summit County’s chipping program offers a missed chipping pile form that can be submitted online. The form will note a missing pile’s address and make sure it is hit on subsequent runs. The form is available at the chipping program’s website: CO.Summit.CO.US/chipping.
Summit County reminds homeowners that improperly stacked piles and any piles stacked after 8 a.m. Monday of your neighborhood’s designated chipping week may not be identified or collected.
What Can You Do
Summit County will collect piles that meet the following guidelines:
- Stack piles neatly (no bags), with the large ends of branches facing the road.
- Place piles within 5 feet of the roadway, but not touching the road or in drainage ditches.
- Maximum pile size is 5 feet high, 5 feet wide and 5 feet long. There is no limit on the number of piles you may put out. If you have more than 20 piles, please notify the county one week prior to your chipping week.
- After crews have removed your pile, clear away any remaining branches, needles and debris.
- Do not combine piles with neighbors’ piles or place piles in other neighborhoods.
- If you would like to keep your chips, tie a piece of red yarn or flagging in a prominent spot on the pile.
To learn more about how to fireproof your residence in Summit County, click here.