Preparing for Wildfire Means Investing in Communities
By focusing wildfire policy on home-safety and community preparedness, we can help Oregon become fire resilient
Tell Oregon’s leaders to focus on keeping communities safe!
Living With Fire
Why Prepare Homes?
As community members across Oregon pick up the pieces from this season’s wildfires, Oregonians have a choice–invest our limited funds in solutions that work or continue to waste funds on outdated and ineffective approaches.
Tell Oregon’s leaders, let’s focus our limited resources near homes.
Focus from the Home Outward
Youth Helping Oregon Homeowners Prepare
Northwest Youth Corps works with Oregonians to improve the community’s wildfire resiliency.
The corps supports homeowners to make their property fire-safe by providing training and doing hands on work in the woods to reduce fuels near homes and communities. They increase the space within which firefighters can operate and defend communities.
By supporting youth workforce development in Oregon and providing opportunities to positively impact the adaptive resiliency of our communities, Oregon can better prepare for future fires. By focusing on homes and communities, instead of wasting money trying to cut vast landscapes to reduce their flammability, we will be better prepared when fire comes.
What started the 2020 fires?
Many of the fires in Oregon were ignited because strong winds blew down energized power lines, which then arced and started grass and brush on fire. These fires were driven by high winds which ignited homes and forests on fire, and blew up overnight. Power lines also came down and ignited fires near Otis in Lincoln County, in the North Umpqua, along the McKenzie in Blue River and Vida, and along the Santiam Canyon. In the towns of Gates, Mill City and Lyons, the fires burned homes and killed the trees near those homes, yet throughout the town you will find many green trees. The patterns of destruction in many of these cases show that the primary cause was human-caused ignitions and fire spread driven by extreme winds.
Powerline ignited fire at former Gates Elemental School burned up the wildland firefighter camp.
Since we can’t stop wind and drought, we must prevent live powerlines from igniting fires and prepare our homes and communities to be firewise.
This season’s wildfires demonstrated what scientists have been telling us for decades: that large fires in the American West are primarily driven by extreme weather conditions. Research shows that the number one way to protect communities from wildfire is to fire-proof homes, create defensible space around communities and invest in local firefighters. Cutting vegetation across vast areas of forests to try to make them less flammable is like trying to take a cup and make the ocean less wet.
Burned cabin site at Jawbone Flats, Oregon