Big Bear Valley, CA — The free neighborhood chipping program returns to the Big Bear Valley in June and what’s new and exciting about this year’s effort is that all three local fire agencies—Big Bear City, Big Bear Lake and San Bernardino County Fire Departments—have pooled their grant resources and will implement the program collectively. In years past, certain neighborhoods have been designated for chipping services on specific weeks but, as of June 2010, all Big Bear Valley residents, renters and second homeowners will be able to call for on-demand chipping services. Once treed properties have been thinned out, limbed up and cleared of overgrown vegetation, you can call the Big Bear Valley free chipping hotline, toll-free, at 877-771-CHIP (or 2447), to have your material chipped in to mulch and carried away. For specifics on creating defensible space on your property, visit the local website ThinIsIn.org; residents are also encouraged to log hours creating defensible space, as these efforts combine to further grant opportunities for the free chipping service, while also contributing to Firewise USA Communities distinctions, which have been earned by the City of Big Bear Lake, Big Bear City and Fawnskin. As Big Bear City Fire Chief Jeff Willis tells KBHR, “Logging hours on the ThinIsIn.org website is important, because we get to use volunteer hours on work done around your house to assist us in getting grant-matching funds, which enables us to offer a free chipping program such as this, Valley-wide. Also this year, local contractors will be doing the actual work, so firemen won’t be pulled from their duties, nor will the City’s Public Works crews.” The free neighborhood chipping program of the Big Bear Valley will get underway in early June and will extend into October; to coordinate free chipping and materials pickup, call 877-771-CHIP.