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July 02, 2022
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Oregon communities receive grants to lower wildfire risk for National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day

SALEM, Ore. – This year, 17 neighborhoods in 11 Oregon cities and towns were awarded $500 each in a nationally competitive process to assist with wildfire prevention projects to mark Wildfire Community Preparedness Day on May 7. For the eighth consecutive year, State Farm Insurance provided financial support, allowing these Oregon communities to join 100 others nationwide to reduce their wildfire risk and create a safer future.

Communities receiving awards in Oregon are:

  • Ashland (5)
  • Bend (2)
  • Canby
  • Depoe Bay
  • Grants Pass
  • Halfway
  • Leaburg
  • Otis
  • Portland (2)
  • Salem
  • Sisters

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) helps organize Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. The NFPA encourages people of all ages to participate in wildfire preparedness and mitigation, making their home and community a safer place to live during fire season.

What the experts say:

“2021 was the second year in a row of significant wildfire, with over 800,000 acres burned in Oregon,” says Jenna Trentadue, National Fire Plan Coordinator for the Oregon Department of Forestry. “This year, we’re urging people to do something to lower the fire risk for their community and home before peak fire months. There are many ways to participate in Wildfire Community Preparedness Day to protect homes and property, even though some activities may have to be altered to adjust for social distancing due to lingering COVID-19 concerns.”

"Fire seasons are arriving sooner, lasting longer, and increasing in severity," says Oregon Department of Forestry's Fire Prevention Coordinator Tom Fields. While the number of fires has remained relatively static over time, the average number of acres burned from 10 years ago to today has gone from 21,000 to 95,000 on lands protected by ODF. "The more we can do now to protect our homes and communities before fire strikes will pay dividends in the long run. With the lion's share of fires caused by people, it is time we take personal responsibility not only for our property but also for our actions that could ultimately prevent disaster from striking at all."

In light of possible drought this summer, Keep Oregon Green (KOG), the Office of the State Fire Marshal, and the Oregon Department of Forestry are working hard to spread an important prevention message about defensible space:

Oregon's recent fire activity stresses the need for removing and managing fuels around your property. Kristin Babbs, KOG President and CEO says that "The majority of Oregon's wildfire ignitions are human-caused and start near the home. Good defensible space stops accidental fires from escaping the property and spreading to neighbors and adjacent forestland. Conversely, it also serves as a buffer slowing a wildfire's advance by starving it of fuel as it reaches your property."

Claire McGrew, Chief Deputy at the Office of State Fire Marshal, adds, "wildfire safety starts with you and your property. Now is the time to take action to prepare our homes, families, and communities for wildfires by starting on our property before there is smoke on the horizon."

Projects for Wildfire Preparedness Day can range from a few hours up to an entire day. Below are some examples of things you can do to reduce the risk of homes and property becoming fuel for a wildfire:

  • Remove debris and dry leaves 3 to 5 feet from a home's foundation and up to 30 ft. if possible.
  • Keep your roof and gutters free of downed tree limbs, broken branches, and leaves.
  • Distribute wildfire safety information via email or website, or order free Firewise and emergency preparedness materials from the Firewise catalog or READY.gov.
  • Join forces with neighbors and pool your resources to pay for a chipper service or large debris bin to remove slash.
  • Make a map of the community and indicate where elderly neighbors and people with animals may need more help during an emergency and assign community members to account for them.

Find additional project ideas and learn more about the National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day event on May 7 by visiting the NFPA website.

Keep Oregon Green (KOG) is a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization that promotes programs and messages encouraging the public to work together in their local communities to prevent the risk of wildfire. Their work targets residents, particularly those in the wildland-urban interface, and recreationists using Oregon's public and private lands.

State Farm's mission is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto, home and individual life insurance in the United States. They serve more than 83 million policies and accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is available. For more information, please visit their website.

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) was founded in 1896, NFPA is a global, nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy, and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. View the NFPA codes and standards for free.

Oregon Department of Forestry's mission is to serve the people of Oregon by protecting, managing, and promoting stewardship of Oregon's forests to enhance environmental, economic, and community sustainability.

The Office of State Fire Marshal's mission is to protect people, property, and the environment from fire and hazardous materials. The office carries out these duties through prevention education, inspections, code enforcement, and preparedness and response activities. Our vision is to provide premier public safety services.

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