IS YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD PREPARED FOR A WILDFIRE?
Taking simple steps now - before a fire starts - is the best way to protect yourself, your family and your neighbors!
WHAT IS THE FIREWISE COMMUNITIES PROGRAM?
Firewise Communities/USA is a national recognition program developed to recognize communities that maintain an appropriate level of fire readiness.
In a Firewise community, residents understand and accept their wildfire risk, and have worked together to improve the safety and resilience of their homes and landscapes to withstand a wildfire.
Firewise offers a series of practical steps that residents can take to reduce their vulnerability to wildfire including landscaping techniques and the use of fire-resistant home construction materials.
Research tells us that if we want to reduce the risk of wildfire burning homes, we need to focus on the home and its immediate surroundings up to 200 feet. This is called the Home Ignition Zone.
Because we live in a fire-prone environment and fire agencies can’t solve the problem alone. Wildfires can put dozens (even hundreds) of homes at risk simultaneously. Firefighters may not have the resources to protect each home. In fact, a wildfire may prevent firefighters from even reaching your home. As residents of Jackson County, it’s our responsibility to take action to increase our homes’ chances of surviving a wildfire.
When a neighborhood is prepared, firefighters can focus more of their resources on the main body of the fire – as opposed to individual structures.
HOW HOMES IGNITE
Fire can reach your home in one of two ways: on the ground or from the air. On the ground, a fire will burn anything in its path - plants, patio furniture, wooden decks or fences. The key is to interrupt a continuous path of fuel that leads to your house.
From the air, burning embers called firebrands can travel a mile or more in advance of a fire. Firebrands can land on and around your house. Your home’s exterior plays an important role in preventing a fire.
DO I HAVE TO CUT DOWN ALL MY TREES?
Think “lean, clean and green.” Firewise encourages the use of vegetation that is healthy and green throughout the year. Deciduous trees and shrubs that drop their leaves every fall typically burn with much less intensity than evergreens, and are a better choice to plant close to your house.
NEIGHBORS WORKING TOGETHER
In many cases, homes within a neighborhood share Home Ignition Zones. This means that the condition of your home and yard affect how well your neighbor’s home will fare during a wildfire, and vice versa. Neighbors can help neighbors, and they are often inextricably linked together in their wildfire safety solutions.
HOW MANY HOMES MAKE UP A COMMUNITY?
Firewise is designed for neighbors to work together on a smaller scale. A community could be an entire subdivision or Homeowner’s Association, or simply a group of residents who live on a certain street or share a common hazard. The size of your Firewise community is up to you!
HOW DO I BECOME A FIREWISE COMMUNITY?
Contact the Oregon Department of Forestry at (541) 664-6674 or your local fire district to let them know you are interested in becoming a Firewise community.
There are already many Firewise neighborhoods in Jackson County in the cities of Ashland, Jacksonville and Shady Cove, but you don’t have to live in a city to participate. The program is designed for everyone!
It’s simple, and it doesn’t need to cost a lot of money. Grants are available to assist eligible homeowners with cleanup around their homes.