The FireFree program is constantly evolving to bring valuable education to the public so that residents can prepare themselves for wildland fires. In our effort to respond to your questions, we list some of the common inquiries here. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions not on this list.
Please contact Katie Lighthall at 541-322-7129.
What is defensible space?
Defensible space is the 30-100 fire-resistant zone around your home. This is the area directly adjacent to your home where vegetation has been reduced to slow the spread of wildfire to your home, significantly decreasing the likelihood that it will ignite.
What is the most vulnerable part of my home?
Your roof system - the roofing material, the gutters, the fascia boards and any vents where flying embers or "fire brands" can land and ignite your home. Non-combustible roofing such as composition, metal or tile roofing is a better choice. Gutters filled with pine needles and other debris provide the perfect nest for fire brands so keep your gutters clean to prevent possible ignition of the fascia boards which can lead fire directly under your roofing material and ignite the structure underneath.
What is the home ignition zone?
Your home ignition zone is the area directly surrounding your home that can allow fire to travel to your home and ignite it. Take steps now to reduce flammable vegetation and combustible materials to increase your chances that your home will survive.
I pay taxes so why can't the fire department defend my home?
It's simply a matter of supply and demand. There are not enough fire trucks and personnel to protect every home. During a wildland fire, fire agencies are maxxed out and concentrate on halting the fire's advancement. Fire officials will "triage" homes as they assess neighborhoods in the path of a fire. Is your home going to survive? Has it been prepared for wildland fire? Which homes do they attempt to protect, and which do they pass by? There is no time to prepare individual homes against the oncoming threat. Take responsibility now, and prepare your home iginition zone for wildland fire.
Is wildfire really a threat here in central Oregon?
In an average year, central Oregon fire fighting agencies combat 450 lightning and human-caused fires on about 50,000 acres. While the majority of these fires are contained relatively quickly, a handful escape the most gallant efforts and the potential for catastrophic loss is right in our back yards. All of Deschutes County has been declared a Wildfire Hazard Zone. That means any place you live and work here is at substantial risk of wildland fire. A careless cigarette, fireworks, or debris burn can all ignite a brush fire that rapidly overtakes a neighborhood. A few hours of prep time can save your home and valuables.