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Tuolumne Chipping Service

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Tuolumne Road area to get free chipping service

An area northeast of Tuolumne has been targeted for a free brush chipping service to start in June.

This program is separate from the funded program which operated the Plainview slash site in greater Twain Harte in 2004. Flyers announcing the free brush chipping service have started going out to the 461 homes in the Highway 108 Fire Safe Council wildfire fuel project area, with the first notification going to the Ponderosa Hills Association. Mailing to other residents east of Tuolumne Road North, from Old Buchanan Road on the north to First Avenue outside Tuolumne on the south, will go out in February.

Under Public Resource Code 4291, all residents in wildland areas are required to remove brush and forest debris from around their dwellings. In 2004, that clearance was 30 feet, however it has been amended to 100 feet for 2005. Implementation and recommendation guidelines for the new clearance distance are being formulated by area fire fighting agencies. When the recommendations are complete, they will be publicized. Rick Jerome, project manager said, “We are urging residents to start thinking early about participating because residents need to phone in for a reservation. A permission-to chip form will then be sent out which includes detailed instructions on what to cut, where and how to stack brush at street-side for chipping. We want residents to be informed and be ready to do their cleaning and cutting in May. Chipping will take place starting June 1.”

The goal, Jerome said, is to have maximum participation, but since the grant from Tuolumne County and the Forest Service is limited, they require reservations so everyone who returns the permission form will be served. Bob Hackamack, the other project manager, said, “Anyone can call our chipping reservation line, 928-4096, and leave a question about flammable fuel reduction. We will attempt to answer all questions. The goal of the Highway 108 Fire Safe Council is to inform folks of how they can help make our whole community more safe from wildfire.”

Reprinted with permission from Sierra Mountain Times