John Osborne is a Paradise resident and a member of the Butte County Fire Safe Council.
How did you find out about the Chipper Program?
Through word of mouth. Somebody told me there was a program that would help remove my brush without it costing me a lot of money. I had been checking about getting the brush hauled away, and that was quite expensive.
Why did you decide to use the program?
My yard here in Paradise was an unsightly mess! I had stacks of brush everywhere. Not only from fallen branches, but from landscaping and cutting back brush. My yard had become unusable really, and it was a constant reminder that I had to do something. I was also worried about fire. The whole situation kind of stressed me out.
When I finally called the Butte County Fire Safe Council Office, I discovered that by becoming a member at $30 a year, I could qualify for up to two hours of free chipping!!! I drove to the office and signed up right away!!
Were you satisfied with the result?
I had two stacks of brush about 15 feet long by three- or four-feet high. I couldn't even get into the front yard. Unfortunately, I had to be at work when the Chipper Crew was scheduled at my place. When I came home, I was stunned! The stacks of brush were completely gone. In their place was a nice, even layer of chips that I could easily walk across. It was like a miracle! And my stress was over!!
Is there anything else you think people should know about the program?
Yes. The brush has to be near a roadway so the crew can have access. Fortunately I had a circular driveway, and it was no problem for them to get their machinery close.
And besides the Chipper help, I learned a lot about how to keep my place fire safe. I found out I needed to move my firewood away from the side of the house. And since many home fires started because of pine needles and debris in rain gutters, I now keep mine cleaned out as much as I can. In fact, I was so impressed with the Butte County Fire Safe Council programs, I even decided to become a volunteer!! The benefits of a membership are really valuable. I certainly encourage everyone in the woods or in the chaparral to get one!!
Partners have included US Forest Service, Plumas National Forest, Bureau of Land Management and Cal-Fire.