Big Bear News – Big Bear, CA –Big Bear Fire Department announced that it will suspend its popular chipping program for the 2020 season. This grant-funded program has been highly successful helping residents create defensible space around their structures. The Fire Department actively researches and applies for hazardous fuel reduction grants to keep the chipping program and the hazardous tree remove program going. The Department recently received denial letters for the three grants applied for that would have paid for hazardous fuel reduction programs for the 2020 season. Fire Chief Jeff Willis stated, “The loss of approximately $345,000 in grant funding is difficult and will be hard for this community. This program has proven very successful in helping property owners remove hazardous fuels. Creating defensible space is still extremely important to protect a home from wildfire; and I ask all property owners to continue to be diligent creating and maintaining a firewise property through the summer months.” The loss of grant funding comes at a time when the Department has cut administrative personnel to reduce expenses. “Administrative staffing cuts also reduces the Department’s ability to manage hazardous fuel abatement programs.” Chief Willis added. The Department has one grant remaining that is available for hazardous tree removal on a property owner cost-share basis. For information on the hazardous tree removal program or for guidelines to create defensible space around your property, contact the Big Bear Fire Department at www.BigBearFire.org or call (909) 866-7566.