The Office of State Fire Marshal wants to remind Oregonians that they are the greatest resource in protecting homes and neighborhoods. With some simple steps, people can protect their homes and communities from wildfire, and now is the time to prepare for the 2021 fire season.

Remember to keep defensible space defined, keep grass and weeds cut low and always be prepared to respond to wildfire. With this in mind, the office of state fire marshal urges people to take a look around their property in the “home ignition zone,” where glowing embers can ignite spot fires and vulnerable areas like decks, patios and fences that can spread flames to the house. The most significant risk of structures catching fire during a wildland fire event is from the advancing ember shower, which can reach a property long before an actual flame front. 

Good defensible space can not only prevent ember ignition of a home, it can also prevent the flames from reaching the home at all. People can reduce the vegetation within 30 feet of their homes and eliminate flammable plants from touching their houses.

“Wildfire safety starts with all of us and our 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,” State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple said.

To address the risk of wildfire, people are encouraged to take the following steps right now to help protect themselves against the upcoming fire season:

• Clear roofs and gutters of dead leaves, debris and pine needles that could catch embers;

• Ensure your roof is in good repair;

• Move any flammable material away from exterior walls, i.e., mulch, flammable plants, leaves and needles, firewood piles;

• Remove anything stored underneath decks or porches;

• Give your home a non-combustible area where a fire in the landscape can’t reach your home, strive for a 5-foot perimeter;

• Keep lawns and native grasses mowed to a height of four inches;

• Remove ladder fuels (vegetation under trees) so a surface fire cannot reach the crowns.  Prune trees up to six to 10 feet from the ground; shorter trees do not exceed one-third of the overall tree height.

With firefighting resources doing their best to tackle large wildfires, communities that focus on neighborhood-wide firewise ideals can not only increase an individual home’s survival but the whole neighborhood’s.

“A neighborhood-wide approach can increase the chances of homes surviving a wildfire. By taking a neighborhood approach to defensible space and community preparedness, you are also protecting our firefighters,” Ruiz-Temple explained. “Ultimately, individuals taking the right steps on their property before fire season make firefighters safer and more effective,” she adds.

Creating whole neighborhoods that are holistically preparing for wildfire is a large piece of fire adapted communities. A fire-adapted community acknowledges and takes responsibility for its wildfire risk by taking actions to address resident safety, homes, neighborhoods, businesses and infrastructure, forests, parks, and open spaces all Oregonians enjoy.

For more defensible space tips, visit

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