Fire season is around the corner! Are you prepared? It may be March, but fire season will be here before we know it. Now is the time to get ready!
First, a brief update on the status of Firewise Communities in Ashland. As of 2012, there are 12 nationally recognized Firewise Communities in Ashland. Those are neighborhood organizations that have undertaken the simple 5 step process to become prepared together, for a wildfire. Ashland leads the state as the municipality with the most number of Firewise Communities. Way to go Ashland!
In addition, over 100 residents completed individual grants last year through our Firewise program to create defensible space in their own yards. Each and every resident who creates defensible space helps to save their own home, as well as limit the spread of wildfire within the City. Many of these residents worked with their immediate neighbors on property line plantings that endangered both homes, and now are safer.
The Firewise Commission has also been busy preparing events for Firewise Week, the first week of May. More info on that soon! In 2013, Ashland Firewise is partnering with Ashland CERT to combine the popular programs of Firewise and Your Neighborhood Redness program. The optional combination, called “Map Your Firewise Neighborhood” offers residents information about defensible space standards and wildfire preparedness, in addition to other disasters. We are hoping this pilot project helps to disseminate Firewise information to all neighborhoods in Ashland. For more information, contact myself, or Terri Eubanks, Ashland CERT Coordinator.
I am happy to announce the Firewise grant program for 2013. Additional funding has been secured to offer Ashland residents reimbursement for removing fire-prone vegetation near homes. The terms of the grant are very similar to years’ past; this year the max amount is $500. The grant requires a home assessment first, and is only for people who have not previously participated in a grant program. For more information, please visit ashland.or.us/grants. If you or your neighbors still have juniper, Leland cypress, or arborvitae around your homes, this grant may benefit you!
Remember that more than vegetation matters when making your home Firewise. Construction features and regular home maintenance can play a huge role in your home surviving a wildfire. For more preparedness info and tips, contact myself, or check out the comprehensive website, ashlandfirewise.org.
Whether it is installing 1/8 inch mesh screening under your deck, moving your woodpile, or cleaning out your gutters, all of these tasks can make a difference! Please check out the Ashland Firewise on Facebook. Great tips, photos, events reminders, and more are posted regularly. Take a quick moment to Friend or Like Ashland Firewise on Facebook, or follow on twitter. Just follow the links in my signature. Ashland Fire & Rescue is your resource for wildfire preparedness and information. Let us know how we can help.
Ali True/Firewise Communities Coordinator
Ashland Fire & Rescue