Within the Pacific Northwest, fires have historically been a natural part of the changing landscape. Before Oregon towns and subdivisions were established, fires were a natural result of summer thunderstorms travelling across the mountains and plains.
Within certain areas of the City of Portland, individual houses, sub-divisions, and entire communities have been built directly adjacent to naturally fire-prone areas with undeveloped wildland vegetation. These areas are referred to as wildland urban areas or interface areas. Homes in these areas are situated in or near woodland settings or forests where residents enjoy the beauty of the environment but face the very real danger of wildfire. The ability for home owners to live more safely in this type of natural fire area depends on taking special precautions to help protect lives, homes, and property.
Graphic courtesy of the OSU Extension Service - Wildfire in Oregon
Document: Living with Fire - A Guide for the Homeowner
To address and promote wildfire precaution measures, the City of Portland Bureau of Development Services (BDS) and Portland Fire & Rescue worked alongside one another to compile information and recommendations into a brochure. The brochure provides simple and useable recommendations that homeowners can implement to help their landscape and home become more wildfire resistant or at least able to slow the advance of a wildfire.
The topics in the brochure include:
- Ways to create a defensible space around homes by modifying, reducing, or clearing potential wildfire fuel materials or vegetation to create a barrier that will slow the spread of wildfire
- Fire resistant home construction recommendations (i.e. roof coverings and designs, windows, eaves, fascias, soffits, vents, decks, exterior doors, detached structures, interior walls, ceilings, floors, interior automatic fire sprinklers)
- Wildfire resistant landscape planning (i.e. how to manage your landscape, landscape maintenance in wildfire areas, characteristics of fire resistant plants)
- Wildfire emergency planning (i.e. in your neighborhood, in your home, after a fire starts)
Portland Fire & Rescue encourages you to be proactive and prepared for the dangers of wildfires. For further resources to help prevent fire fatalities, injuries, and property loss caused by wildfires, visit http://www.oregon.gov/OSP/SFM/CommEd_WUI.shtml.
May 7, 2010