PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Despite a soggy spring, wildfires are still a looming threat and it’s time for homeowners to prepare.
Experts with the Bureau of Land Management say homeowners should check the space around their home and make sure it’s in tip-top shape to be protected against a potential wildfire.
Defensible space or the 100 feet around a home will either fuel a wildfire or will keep the property protected should a flame edge near.
The space is designed to protect a home while keeping the homeowners and the nearby community safe.
Jacob Gear, the mitigation specialist for the BLM in Oregon and Washington, says you shouldn’t wait until there’s a fire to prepare your home. It’s important to be proactive — not reactive.
“There’s a lot of instances where maybe one home doesn’t have defensible space and that home, depending on how close it is to its neighbors’ home, can lead to ignition,” Gear said.
Defensible space is necessary for firefighters to get inside a home safely and protect it. If there is proper space around the home, then crews may not have to go onto the property as it’s already protected.
According to Risk Factor, a non profit that tracks flood and wildfire risk across the nation, there are 1,106,192 properties in Oregon that have some risk of being affected by wildfire over the next 30 years. This represents 61% of all properties in Oregon.
“Most homes destroyed in wildfires are from smaller flames or embers going into the home. It’s not actually from the flaming front or the main portion of the fire,” Gear said.
Experts say it doesn’t take a lot of work to protect a home. Gear says doing little things like cleaning gutters, making sure vents are sized correctly or putting rock instead of bark against the home can make all the difference.
The Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office is having a defensible space code meeting at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. Those interested in joining or signing up for public comment can visit the website here.