This weekend brings us the first opportunity of the season for extreme fire danger coupled with the potential for lightning. It is the time of year that wildfires can strike at a moment’s notice, and embers can ignite fires wherever they land. Remember these fire season and Firewise resources until we get that first wetting rain of fall. Remember that firebrands can land up to a MILE ahead of a wildfire. You do not have to live in the forest to be impacted by a wildfire…you just have to live downwind of a fire, and in Ashland, any neighborhood can be impacted by embers.
First: Look at your home and the first ten feet around the foundation. Move anything that could burn away from your home. This includes bark mulch, dead leaves (yes, the space under your deck counts!), stacks of lumber, and especially firewood. If it can burn, do not let it touch your house! Use only well watered and maintained fire-resistant plants in this area.
Second: Look Up! Make sure your gutters and roof are clean. This can help protect your home from igniting from embers.
Third: Stay Informed. The Ashland wildfire hotline (541-552-2490), Citizen Alert, and 1700 AM Ashland Emergency Radio are great resources to know about during a wildfire event. You have to register your cell phone with Citizen Alert if that is how you want to be notified of an emergency. Land lines are already included, but really, are you planning on being at home during a wildfire? You never know, so take the 5 minutes to register your cell phone number! For wildfires outside the Ashland city limits, check out the Oregon Department of Forestry blog swofire.blogspot.com. It is full of updates on local fires.
Fourth: Know Firewise. You may not be planting now, but before you do, check out the host of resources regarding fire-resistant plants and construction materials available on ashlandfirewise.org. The new OSU Extension Fire-Resistant Privacy Screening publication is available there, as well as other plant lists, Firewise Tips, grant information, and additional resources. Our Facebookpage has some great photos and other tips found nowhere else! Like it to see what’s new!
Fifth: Be careful with fire. Know fire season restrictions that apply to you.
The smoky skies outside are a daily reminder that we live in wildfire country. We all share the responsibility for being prepared for a wildfire. Have you done everything you can to be Firewise?
As always, Ashland Fire & Rescue is here to help you with grants, information, and a free wildfire safety home evaluation service to residents of Ashland.
Wishing you a safe summer,
Ali True/Firewise Communities Coordinator
City of Ashland / Ashland Fire & Rescue
455 Siskiyou Boulevard Ashland, OR 97520