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News From Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District

Hazardous Vegetation Removal Grants

Program Description

The Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District is committed to reducing the threat of wildfire in our community.  In support of this effort, the District has established the Hazardous Vegetation Removal Grant Program. The purpose of this grant program is to encourage Sleepy Hollow residents to create and maintain defensible space around their homes and the perimeter of their properties and take actions to make their homes more fire resistant through the provisions of grant funds to help offset the cost of this undertaking.  If approved, the grant will provide up to $3000 for removal of hazardous species of plants. No match is required. A total of $78,000 is available for this pilot grant program. Grants will be awarded on a first come first serve basis to qualifying applicants. 

All plants can burn if dead, poorly maintained, or drought stressed
The plants we are targeting for removal are representative of common species that typically share one or more of these characteristics: they may be biologically prone to burn due to chemical composition (often containing volatile oils); are difficult to maintain in a fire-resistant state (they accumulate dead woody material, dead leaves, or other hazardous dead growth); they may have a physical structure that presents challenges to routine maintenance (some thorny or dense shrubs that accumulate dead material in locations where it is difficult to remove); they may have a high surface area to volume ratio (such as fine needles or lacy leaves); they may be prone to rapid changes in moisture content in response to environmental conditions (they may be adequately hydrated one day, but lose moisture within hours when exposed to hot, dry weather).

Removal of the following species is eligible for reimbursement under this grant program:

ARBORVITAE Thuja spp. 

Thuja is a genus of coniferous trees in the Cupressaceae (cypress family). There are five species in the genus, two native to North America and three native to eastern Asia. The genus is monophyletic and sister to Thujopsis.They are commonly known as arborvitaes, (from Latin for tree of life) thujas or cedars.Thuja are an extremely fire prone species, and should not be planted in the defensible space zone or near driveways or roadways.

CYPRESS  Cupressus spp. 

They are evergreen trees or large shrubs. The leaves are scale-like, arranged in opposite decussate pairs, and persist for three to five years. On young plants up to two years old, the leaves are needle-like. The cones are long, globose or ovoid with four to 14 scales arranged in opposite decussate pairs; they are mature in 18-24 months from pollination. The seeds are small, 4-7 mm long, with two narrow wings, one along each side of the seed.Many of the species are adapted to fire, holding their seeds for many years in closed cones until the parent trees are killed by a fire; the seeds are then released to colonize the bare, burnt ground. In other species, the cones open at maturity to release the seeds.  The fast-growing hybrid Leyland cypress, often found in gardens, draws one of its parents from this genus (Monterey cypress C. macrocarpa).

JUNIPERS  Juniperus spp. 

Junipers are coniferous plants in the genus Juniperus of the cypress family Cupressaceae.  Junipers (Juniperus spp.) are one of the hardiest, most versatile and drought-tolerant shrubs. They are also one of the most fire prone species, and are sometimes referred to as a "gasoline bush" by firefighters. They are conifers with prickly young foliage that becomes flatter and softer with age.  All junipers should be removed within 100' of structures or 10' of roads and driveways (as required by fire code adopted by Marin fire agencies).  Additional clearance may be required depending on the site and local conditions. Juniper does not belond in the landscaped environment or defensible space zones of structures in California.

FIRESafe MARIN recommends that junipers be removed within 100' or structures and 10' (minimum) of roadways and driveways. Period.

PAMPAS GRASS, JUBATA GRASS  Cortaderia spp.  Cortaderia selloana and Cortaderia jubata, Pampas grass or Jubata Grass, are species of grass known by several common names, including purple pampas grass and Andean pampas grass. Jubata is similar to its more widespread relative, the pampas grass Cortaderia selloana, but it can get quite a bit taller, approaching seven meters in height at maximum.

All Corataderia are fire prone and should be avoided or removed in the defensible space zone.

BAMBOO

Bamboo includes more than 1500 species in 6 "tribes" - all are considered fire-hazardous when planted in Marin's climate. Bamboo is commonly grown as a screen or hedge.  Bamboo should be removed within 30 ' of structures or 10' of roads and driveways according to the fire code adopted by Marin fire agencies.

No bamboo genus or species is “nonflammable” because they all share the same woody stem structure (culms) and other fire prone characteristics. All bamboos form tight clusters of culms (stems).  These tight masses of stems tend to accumulate lots of decay resistant, dead material and inhibit the removal of internal dead culms.  They all shed dead, shaded out leaves while retaining dead leafless twigs.  Leaf and culm sheaths also get caught up in the dense clumps of culms and dead culms are often buried in the dense clumps of culms making it difficult to impossible to remove them.  These characteristics are shared by all bamboos and cause all bamboos to be fire prone.

Some bamboo species are shorter and have more slender culms then others, and therefore have less fuel volume.  However they also lose their live fuel moisture more quickly when exposed to hot dry winds compared to species with larger culms. Many species of bamboo are “runners” which means they can expand their clump size rapidly by means of underground rhizomes (modified underground horizontal stems). Dense bamboo screens are typically used between homes and along roads to screen unwanted views and provide privacy. There are other plants, both natie and non-native, that can create suitable privacy screens while exhibiting lower fire hazard and easier maintenance.

To apply for a grant:

  1. Download and complete application:  SHFPD Hazardous Vegetation Grant Application.doc
  2. Email the completed application to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  3. SHFPD will notify you if the application has been approved
  4. After your have been notified that your application has been approved, you may have the hazardous plant species removed
  5. Submit photographs of the completed work to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Copies of paid invoices for the work must also be included.
  6. If you are unable to submit photographs and invoices via email, please contact Rich Shortall at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  7. The District will reimburse you after the work is completed up to a total of $3,000.

Download an application

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Sleepy Hollow Chipper Days 2020

Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District and FIRESafe MARIN will host multiple chipper days again in 2020.  We've added a THIRD "curbside pick-up" chipper day due to popular demand.  We've also listened to your feedback and scheduled the pickup days for Monday and Tuesday, to allow homeowners to complete necessary work over the weekend.  

These chipper pickups are for residents fo Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District only.  If your street/address is on the registration form, you're eligible! 

COVID-19 questions: our crews will utilize safe practices and maintain social distancing, masks, sanitation, and other precautions as necessary. Residents may complete themselves or hire gardeners/landscapers to conduct vegetation removal for fire hazard reduction, as an essential service. Please use personal precautions and good safety practices.

2019 was the most successful year in the history of the program. Let's make a BIGGER impact in 2020!

REMEMBER: PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT ROSS VALLEY FIRE DEPARTMENT WITH QUESTIONS!

Ross Valley Fire Department does not manage the Sleepy Hollow chipper days and their staff are unable answer ANY questions.  You MUST follow the directions on the SHFPD Chipper webpage carefully!

2020 CHIPPER DAY SCHEDULE

  • May 18-19, 2020 Curbside pick-up
  • June 22-23, 2020 Curbside pick-up
  • July 20-21, 2020 Curbside pick-up

REGISTER FOR JULY 20-21

  • October 5, 2020 drop off only (to coincide with the creek clean up)
     

For questions about the chipping service, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Annual Firewise Renewal Survey: Help keep our insurance rates low!

Sleepy Hollow is a nationally recognized "Firewise USA" site.  We need 5 minutes of your time to make sure our community gets full credit for annual fire-safety improvements and investment! Please do your part by responding to this short survey.

Your response will help us achieve (and keep) Firewise USA recognition, with potential benefits such as reduced insurance premiums, improved insurance retention, and access to grants and neighborhood preparedness funding.

 
Thanks for your time and hard work to build a more fire resilient neighborhood.

Tips:

  • Be sure to select "Sleepy Hollow (San Anselmo)" from the drop down menu for "Your Neighborhood Firewise Site."
  • Estimates are OK when they ask for dollar amounts and amounts of vegetation removed.
  • fields marked with a red asterisk are required
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Final Chipper Day of 2019 THIS SATURDAY! Drop-off only!

CREEK CLEANING/WINTER STORM PREP AND CHIPPER STATION ON OCTOBER 5.  THIS IS THE FINAL CHIPPER DAY OF 2019!

Get your garden gloves and yard waste cans ready for the sixth Annual Sleepy Hollow Creek Cleaning Day on Saturday, October 5.  We’re asking creek-side residents to clean their section of the creek AND we’re asking ALL residents to clean out drainage areas on their property of anything that could cause localized flooding (e.g. yard waste, broken branches, leaves).  We’ll be at the clubhouse at 9am that morning to coordinate efforts if you need any help or guidance.

Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District and FIRESafe MARIN will also have a chipper station located at the end of Butterfield (by the entrance to San Domenico) on the day of the creek cleaning.  Bring any material removed while creating Defensible Space around your home, and we will chip it for you! Fire season is at its peak - don't be complacent.

Sleepy Hollow Creek Corps leader Eric Riemer has identified potential problem areas that need to be addressed. If you live on the creek and know of any issues or need help with your particular area, please contact Eric at 415-748-4231 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

THIS IS A DROP-OFF CHIPPER DAY.  NO REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED!  

SATURDAY,  OCTOBER 5, 9AM-3PM

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Register today for the July 20-21 Chipper Days!

Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District and FIRESafe MARIN  sponsor a “Chipper Days" each spring and fall for all residents of the District.  To participate in any curbside chipper days, you must REGISTER ONLINE.  

July 20-21, 2019
Curbside Pick-Up
Time: 9AM-4PM
Location: At the curbside in front of your home.
Online registration required! (Registration opens July 1, closes July 19)
 
 
This is the FINAL CURBSIDE PICK-UP CHIPPER DAY OF 2019!

WHAT WILL THE CREWS REMOVE?

proper chipper pile

Chipper crews will dispose of up to 5 yards of cut vegetation at no cost (approximately 4'x4'x8', stacked).  Larger quantities must be pre-approved.  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for instructions.

Crews will dispose of larger materials that won't fit in your green waste cans (1"-6" diameter limbs, brush, branches, etc).  Grass clippings, loose leaves, soft vegetation can't be chipped and must be disposed of in your green waste cans. 


HOW TO MAKE A SUCCESSFUL CHIPPER DAY

1. CREATE DEFENSIBLE SPACE

Please review the steps for creating Defensible Space is available at www.firesafemarin.org/defensible-space. The law requires that all property owners remove the flammable vegetation on your property to create a defensible space of at least 100 feet (PRC 4291).

2. STACK MATERIAL

  1. CHIPPER CREWS WILL DISPOSE OF UP TO 5 CUBIC YARDS OF CUT VEGETATION AT NO COST (APPROXIMATELY 4'X4'X8', STACKED).
  2. Limbs and branches, 1" to 6" diameter,  brush, woody material, broom are OK!  NO Grass, loose leaves, or soft plants (dispose of these in green cans, please).  The chipper can only dispose of limbs, branches, and woody material.
  3. No material should be greater than 6” in diameter.
  4. Material should be freshly cut.  "Green" chips are better than old, dry vegetation and cause less wear to the equipment.
  5. Stack material with the CUT ENDS FACING THE STREET!
  6. All vegetative material should be free of rocks, dirt and other foreign material that could damage the equipment. No lumber, fencing, or other materials may be chipped.
  7. Property owners may be asked to sign a record of the location and hours that were spent cutting the materials to be chipped.

3. WAIT FOR PICK-UP

Crews will pick up material on designated "pick-up" days.  On weekends, we can't promise which of the two days they'll be there.

3. QUESTIONS

Did we miss you?  Be sure the material is stacked at the roadside, visible.  Small amounts of material should be disposed of in green cans - chipper days are for large quantities (1-5+ cubic yards). 

Thank you for helping make Sleepy Hollow a safer, FIREWISE community!

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