Published April 13th, 2022
MOFD providing free wood chipping for Moraga and Orinda residents
By Vera Kochan
Photo courtesy MOFD
As the fire season fast approaches, and by all accounts sooner this year due to the lack of substantial rainfall during winter months, the Moraga-Orinda Fire District has resumed its free-of-charge Community Wood Chipping Program.

This year the program will run through June 1 and be available to any residents within the MOFD area. According to its website, MOFD will "assist residents in reducing vegetation by facilitating the chipping of material produced in quantities too large for green bins and too small for commercial chipping providers." Only Orinda residents will retain the wood chipping services through the summer thanks to Measure R.

Beginning in June, the MOFD Fire Prevention team will begin defensible space fire code inspections and doesn't expect to resume the community chipping program until November or December.

Anyone taking advantage of the chipping service is expected to lay the vegetation parallel to the roadway with the cut stems facing in the same direction so that chipping crews don`t need to untangle the materials. Falling under the category of chippable vegetation are limbs, shrubs, brush, and small trees up to 6 inches in diameter. Items that are not allowed include grass, leaves, hay, vines, poison oak, fencing of any kind, scrap wood, lattice, tree stakes, dimensional lumber, or individual pieces weighing more than 80 pounds. Make sure there are no staples, barbed wire or nails as they may damage the chipping machine and can be dangerous to crews.

MOFD asks that there be a minimum of three homeowners requesting the service in a neighborhood in order to reduce travel time between sites. Priority scheduling will be given to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Firewise USA neighborhoods.

Residents who use a professional tree service to cut down large trees cannot use the chipping program (which is meant to handle smaller vegetation). Similarly, MOFD will not cut any vegetation. It is the homeowner's responsibility.

Vegetation meant for the chipper should be placed within 10 feet of the roadside and off the pavement. It must not interfere with vehicular traffic or visibility. It must not be located on steep hillsides or unsafe areas for the crew. The piles may not exceed 4 feet in height or be located more than 10 feet away from the chipper location.

For any resident wishing to take advantage of the program visit, and fill out the online Chipper Request Form. All requests must be submitted online.

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