North Yakima Conservation District (NYCD), in cooperation with the Highway 410/12 Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) steering committee, has developed a new program to assist landowners in the Highway 410 and 12 corridors within Yakima County. The program is designed to reduce wildfire risks in those areas by providing information to landowners on how to reduce wildfire risk on their property and by promoting fuels reduction and creation of defensible space around structures.
The program involves three principal steps. The first will be Firewise home assessments, which will be conducted by conservation district staff and will provide landowners with information about specific actions that can be taken to reduce wildfire risk on their property; the assessments can also be conducted by the landowner independently if they feel comfortable doing so. The second component will be clearing appropriate limbs trees and brush, and stacking the resulting debris in piles to be chipped, landowners will be responsible for completing this work. Finally, a wood chipping crew will be available to chip debris piles. Assessments and chipping will both be at no cost to the homeowner.
What Work Should be Done by the Landowner?
Following a completed assessment the following work may be done, though what is applicable will vary for each individual case:
- Remove brush away from the structure.
- Clear most trees and large brush around structure within a minimum of 30’ (not all vegetation needs to be removed, but this area should be very clean)
- Limb trees up to 15 ‘or 50 % of live crown from ground, whichever comes first.
- Rake pine needles and leaves 30’ from the structures, off decks and roofs. Please do not put the needles and leaves in the pile to be chipped, the chipper will plug with that debris.
- Continue the process across your property reducing the fuels that would allow the fire to spread into the crowns of trees, “ladder fuels”, pruning, removal of brush near trees, and large accumulations of dead and down ground debris.
- Remove brush, limbs and thin trees along access roads for safe ingress and egress.
There is no limit to the amount of debris gathered
Stacking Piles for Chipping
- Debris should be placed adjacent to the main roads and/or driveway, but not blocking any traffic.
- Cutting and stacking of debris should be done prior to when the crew would be working in the area. (The crew will not wait while you cut.)
- When stacking the debris, please place all the stems of trees and brush pointing in the same direction with the cut ends toward the road. This makes the pile easier to pull apart to feed the chipper.
- Individual cut pieces must not be longer than 8 feet in length and/or thicker than 12” in diameter
To schedule an assessment and/or chipping contact:
North Yakima Conservation District
509.454.5743 Ext. 8555
If you would like to conduct your own assessment the form is available as a pdf or excel file. When you have completed the form return it to me by email or mail and contact me when you are ready to have material chipped.
Assessment form for Excel users
These websites have additional information that will assist any rural, forested or urban landowners prepare for wildfire
Firewise USA website
Fire Adapted Communities website
Defensible Space – Prepare Your Home | WA – DNR
Washington State Department of Natural Resources