Spring in Summit County means we all start cleaning up our yards after a season of snow covered lawns. Piling up broken branches or downed trees and evaluating and creating defensible space around our homes as needed. The larger branches and trees that can’t be hauled away with the trash can be stacked neatly beside the road awaiting a visit from the county’s chipping program.
Because we have natural landscaping in the mountains, we often think that means we don’t need to maintain it. That is not true. We need to create and maintain defensible space around our homes. This space will help protect our homes in the event of a wildfire and help slow its spread. Ideally, you should have a buffer of 5′ between your home and vegetation. Pick up any pine needles or dead leaves. Think about open areas on your house where a spark could land. Do what you can to ensure those areas are not flammable. Check for missing shingles on the roof, debris in gutters, move firewood stacked next to the house. Beyond five feet, trees should be thinned out and pruned. Bushes should be in small clumps. Summit County provides more detailed information that will help you create defensible space around your home.
Summit County chipping program
Over the summer, Summit County makes the rounds through neighborhoods with the chipper helping homeowners dispose of unwanted trees or branches. All you have to do is stack the logs you want chipped by the road at 8am on the Monday of the week the chipper is in your area. By the end of the week, it will be gone. The schedule starts mid-June and goes through the beginning of August. See where your neighborhood is on the chipping schedule.
Logs need to be no bigger than 12″ in diameter and no longer than 10′. Piles should be stacked neatly and should not contain willows, leaves or other debris. If you’re unsure what you can include, here is the Summit County brochure that can provide you with more information.
As a homeowner in Summit County, or any mountainous area, it is our responsibility to do what we can to keep our homes, our neighborhoods and communities safe. Think about defensible space. Think about how we can help prevent wildfires. Put your thoughts into action and take advantage of great programs like this chipping program to help us reach those goals.