The Napa County Fire Department’s chipping program opens soon for the season. Applications are open, and 1st Day of Chipping is March 25th! (weather dependent)

Thank you for taking a proactive approach toward fuels reduction and being Firewise. While we are pleased to help spread the word on the chipping program, it’s fully operated by Napa County, and the Fire Marshal’s office. If you have questions, please direct them to: or call 707-299-1464

The Napa County Fire Department (NCFD) provides a free chipping service to all Napa County residents who live in a designated fire hazard zone – meaning most all of rural Napa. Below is a brief description of the program and a link to sign up. The chipping program typically starts in late Spring at which time a link and information will be provided here. The intent of the program is to encourage residents to comply with defensible space requirements of both the State and County, in addition to being Fire-wise. The program is not intended for commercial activities or general land clearing.

Napa County Defensible Space Code calls for the removal of dead and dying woody surface and aerial fuels within 100 feet from structures. This requirement is intended to eliminate vegetation that would readily burn near buildings including trees, bushes, shrubs, and plants that are dead or have a lot of dead branches, leaves, or needles.  Within this Reduced Fuel Zone around structures, plant litter can’t be more than 3 inches deep on top of the soil, including leaves, needles, twigs, bark, cones, branches, grasses, low and medium shrubs, seedlings, downed logs, and wood chips.  For more information on Napa County Defensible Space Guidelines (May 2021) and more information, visit the County of Napa website.


  • Maximum height: 6 feet
  • Material size: no greater than 6 inches in diameter
  • All piles must be free of roots, stumps, rocks and dirt

Pile Location

  • All piles must be placed within 5 feet of a road or driveway accessible by truck and chipper. Piles must also be safely accessible by the chipping crew
  • Piles should be stacked cut end (blunt end) towards the road for ease of grasping for chipping.
  • Piles must be on level ground, or on the uphill side of the the road.

Piles will NOT be chipped if they contain any of the following:

  • All varieties of broom
  • Poison oak
  • Blackberries/vines/anything with thorns
  • Foreign materials/non-vegetative items
  • Toxic plants (oleanders etc.)
  • Root balls, stumps, dirt or twigs
  • piles of leaves, pine needles or yard clippings
  • Heavy material on top of small material
    To maintain defensible space, you must spread out the wood chips left on your premises AT LEAST 100 FEET AWAY FROM ALL STRUCTURES and no higher than 3 INCHES DEEP.
A few more tips:
  • The crew will chip up to a maximum of 3 hours on a single visit. This is approximately a pile 50’ long, 3 feet high and 10’ wide. There is a high demand for this service among Napa County.
  • Residents may submit subsequent requests during the chipping season (March – October).
  • Burned trees and limbs present a safety hazard if chipped due to the airborne dust that can be created in the process. Due to this potential hazard, burnt or charred material may not be chipped by this program. It is suggested that the material be piled and burned, taken to a waste site, or removed by private contractor. Debris boxes are also an alternative.

The program is not a landowner entitlement but is provided as a community service. Though the chipping program is provided free to residents, the service does come at a cost that is borne by Napa County Fire Department.