The Butte County Fire Safe Council has produced this FAQ to provide answers and resources for landowners who are working to create fire defensible landscape that minimizes fire hazards such as excess grass, brush or small trees.
Q: I am concerned about brush and small trees that contribute to fire hazard conditions and intend to address the vegetation removal myself. Any recommendations on what to do with the cut material? What about the excess trees?
A: Woody material can be chipped and scattered on site (not to exceed 3” depth). Or brush and trees can be removed and transported to a collection yard; two options are Neal Road landfill and Old Durham Wood in Durham. Excess trees can also be cut and split as firewood. Alternatively, woody material can be piled and burned on site (burn permit is required from Cal Fire).
Q: Can I use my lawn mower to cut down weeds on my property?
A: Mowing weeds is very different from grass. You know what to expect in your lawn; but tall weeds can be hiding rocks, chunks of concrete, and pieces of metal; all of which can cause sparks and ignite the weeds. Keep in mind: avoid mowing in the hot afternoon (best use before 10 AM), and have a ready water source. String trimmers are safer for cutting tall weeds than a lawn mower.
Q: Scotch broom is an issue on my property. What is the best method for removal?
A: Scotch broom is a noxious weed that displaces native vegetation and should be removed by hand when young. Use of a pick or shovel may be required depending on the age of the broom. It will sprout if cut, so complete removal (roots and stem) is recommended. Herbicide treatment is also an option. Broom is a prolific seed producer and should be piled/burned on site or removed for disposal at a landfill or biomass power plant. Permits are required to burn piles (for County burn permits: https://www.buttecounty.net/fire/Burning, for Town of Paradise burn permits: https://www.townofparadise.com/index.php/our-government/departments/fire/burn-information-and-permits) The Fire Safe Council has a weed wench tool that is available on loan: https://buttefiresafe.net/borrow-a-weed-wrench/ For additional information on broom: https://buttefiresafe.net/doom-the-broom/
Q: I would like to have the brush and down logs chipped and removed. Where can I dispose of the chips?
A: Local contractors have the ability to chip brush and trees, as well as dispose of chips. Material can also be chipped by landowners and removed to Neal Road Landfill or Old Durham Wood. For a list of vegetation removal companies: https://www.keepitparadise.com/listing-category/landscaping-and-tree-services/
The Fire Safe Council has a chipper program for landowners that are willing to stack small stems and brush for roadside chipping. Note that all chips produced are scattered safely and according to code on site with the program (not removed). Recommend that scotch broom not be chipped and scattered due to the potential for seeds to spread (thus allowing broom to proliferate). For information on the chipper program: https://buttefiresafe.net/chipper-program/
Q: What is going on with the Hazard Tree Removal Program?
A: For information: https://buttecountyrecovers.org/private-property-tree-removal/
- Make It Paradise Frequently Asked Questions: https://makeitparadise.org/frequently-asked-questions
- Home Landscaping Assessment: https://ucdavis.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_81e6E8eQN6W7xPv
- Reducing Forest Fuels: https://ucanr.edu/sites/fire/Prepare/Treatment/
- Firewise USA: https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Wildfire/Firewise-USA
Example of a Firewise Home: