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Creating a defensible space around your place this spring can protect against fire loss

A woman uses an extension trimmer to remove low hanging tree limbs.
Alison Green
Oregon State Fire Marshall's Office
Creating a defensible space around your home, like trimming low hanging tree limbs that could catch fire from lower brush, will create a safety buffer on your property.

Oregon wildfire season is coming. This may be the last thing you want to think about on the first sunny days we’ve had in months. But property owners and renters are urged to put fire prevention at the top of their minds. Fire officials say spring is a good time to start creating “defensible space” around your place.

Alison Green is with the Oregon State Fire Marshall’s Office.

“Not to disappoint anybody, it has nothing to do with football,” she said. “We’re talking about defensible space. It is really a good buffer and that good zone that people can build on their property, kind of immediately around their home that is going to lesson fire impacts or completely stop a fire.”

Green, who has been a wildland firefighter, said fireproofing your property includes trimming bushes away from tree limbs, clearing gutters, and scraping bark dust away from wood decks and homes.

What happens if a house a couple doors down from you catches fire? Green answered that building defensible spaces around neighborhood homes will keep that fire from spreading and give firefighters a place to work from safely.

Burning embers are the leading cause of home loss during a fire. As part of fire prevention preparedness, Green advised limiting the items that flying embers could latch onto and ignite, like outdoor furniture next to the house.

Green says doing this defensive space work in steps, maybe one day each weekend, can help prevent fire prevention burn out.

Oregon Defensible Space for homeowners and renters guide provides recommendations and checklists from Oregon State Fire Marshall’s Office.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.
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