DEVELOPMENT OF THE COMMUNITY WILDFIRE PROTECTION PLAN
An average of 5 million acres burns every year in the United States, causing millions of dollars in damage. As more people move into rural areas and woodland settings, communities’ risk of wildfire hazard increases. The area where human development blends with undeveloped wildland is known as the wildland/urban interface (WUI); this area presents the greatest risk to people, property, and firefighters. To address and plan for response to wildfire and in the interest of reducing wildfire risk, Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) has been working alongside local and state government representatives in consultation with federal agencies and other interested parties including the Portland Office of Emergency Management, Portland Parks and Recreation, and the Oregon Department of Forestry to further develop the joint Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP).
The CWPP plan identifies and prioritizes areas for hazardous fuel reduction treatments, and recommends methods of treatments that will protect at-risk communities and essential infrastructure. And, most importantly, the plan recommends measures that homeowners and communities can take to reduce ignitability of structures throughout the area addressed by the plan.
Under the umbrella of the CWPP plan, agencies are aiming to educate the public about wildfire safety and help promote behaviors and attitudes that translate into creating defensible space around homes and businesses.
Learn more about CWPP plans in Oregon here.
PF&R is partnering with the Oregon Department of Forestry to facilitate community meetings around the City of Portland to discuss wildfire risks associated with specific communities. These meetings encourage citizens to share concerns about wildfire as well as discuss strategies on how to reduce wildfire risk to homes and the community.
In Portland, twenty percent of the city's acreage is comprised of natural areas, stream corridors, parks, and open spaces. All of which contribute to quality of life by providing scenery, recreation trails, wildlife habitat, and clean water. However, the wild spaces within our urban area also present challenges. As development expands at the boundaries of our urban natural areas, the risk of significant property loss due to wildfires increases.
In August 2009, Portland Firefighters respond to Microwave Fire, a large wildfire between in the Columbia River Gorge between Hood River and Mosier.
You can reduce your risk of wildfire in just a few hours. Prepare for wildland fire by focusing on your home ignition zone. In the first 30 feet around your home, create a fire-resistant zone to help reduce the spread of wildfire and protect your property.
PF&R encourages you to use these easy actions to help to protect your home and reduce your risk of losing your home to wildland fire (courtesy of FireFree):
- Define your defensible space.
- Reduce flammable brush around your home and under nearby trees.
- Prune or remove trees.
- Keep grass and weeds cut low.
- Clear wood piles and building materials away from your home.
- Keep your yard and roof clean.
- Keep address signs visible.
- Choose fire-resistant building materials and lawn furniture.
- Recycle yard debris – avoid burning.
- Be prepared to respond to wildfire.
Learn more about safe debris burning and alternatives to burning, barbecue safety, defensible space, motorcycle and off-road vehicle safety, safe campfires, firework safety, and lookout/aerial detection cameras on the Oregon Department of Forestry's website here.