FIRE SEASON JUST AROUND THE CORNER
The wildland fire season this year is predicted to be one of the worst in years and usually begins in early June and runs through late September. The season is affected by drought, snow pack, and weather conditions which can expand the length of the fire season. Unfortunately, humans are usually the main cause of fires during the early or late parts of the fire season.
Depending on a number of factors, wildland fires can spread to thousands of acres and may require thousands of firefighters and several months to extinguish. Federal, state, county, city, private agencies and private timber companies provide fire protection and firefighting services on forest lands in Oregon.
Wildland fires not only destroy timberlands, but also the scenic vistas, wildlife habitat, and natural watersheds in our state, making them vulnerable to increased flooding and erosion. In the long-term, wildland fires result in smaller timber harvests, reduced access to recreational areas, and the destruction of cultural and economic resources.
All vegetation is fuel for a wildfire, though some trees and shrubs are more flammable than others. To reduce the risk, you will need to modify or eliminate brush, trees and other vegetation near your home. The greater the distance between your home and the vegetation, the greater the protection will be for your home. .
Create a 30-foot safety zone around the house
Keep the volume of vegetation in this zone to a minimum. If you live on a hill, extend the zone on the downhill side. Fire spreads rapidly uphill. The steeper the slope, the more open space you will need to protect your home. I have put together a list of some things that you may consider to reduce to possibility in the event of a wild fire.
Protecting Your Home From Fire:
- Store combustibles away from the house, such as fuel, firewood or other debris.
- If possible, install a fire-resistant roof (untreated shake roofs increases fire risk).
- Clean your roof and gutters regularly (tinder-dry needles and limbs catch fire easily).
- Install a spark arrester on your chimney.
- Address numbers should be at least 4 inches high and visible from the street day or night so that emergency crews can easily identify your property.
- Remove tree limbs within 15 feet of the ground
- Replace highly-flammable vegetation such as pine, eucalyptus, junipers and fir trees with lower growing, less-flammable species
- Move shrubs and other landscaping away from the sides of the house.
Just one home that is not properly protected from fire can put an entire community at risk. Since Jacksonville is surrounded by open space, let’s work together this fire season to reduce our risk of Wildland Fires. Please feel free to contact me at Jacksonville Fire Department (541) 899-7246 for a home survey.