The Deadman Canyon Fire near Madras has reached 400+ acres and is threatening homes since ignition Monday night during the thunderstorm over Central Oregon. With over 800 lightning strikes in recent days, Central Oregon is certainly earning its nickname – Lightning Alley.
Fire season is far from over this year and Project Wildfire reminds residents in central Oregon that they are our greatest resource when it comes to protecting homes and neighborhoods. “Firefighting resources can be tied up on local emergencies and across the nation when a wildfire breaks out, so it’s up to individual homeowners to take responsibility for the defensible space around their homes,” says Kate Lighthall, Program Director for Project Wildfire.
“Historically, some of the largest fires we’ve experienced in central Oregon have occurred in August,” says Joe Stutler, Deschutes County Forester, referring to the B & B Complex, Hash Rock, Skeleton, Ashwood-Donneybrook and Smith Rock fires. “There is still time to prepare your homes and properties for any fire events that happen in late summer”.
“The greatest risk to our homes and properties during a wildland fire event is from the burning embers that can spot or drop miles ahead of an advancing fire,” adds Lighthall.
To address this threat Project Wildfire recommends the following steps that homeowners can take right now to help protect themselves against this very real threat in central Oregon:
- Clear all pine needles, weeds, leaves and flammable debris from around your home including on roofs; in gutters; near fences; and on, around and under decks – anywhere where glowing embers can ignite and spread fire to your home.
- Reduce shrubs and other “ladder fuels” around your home that can spread fire to nearby trees or structures.
- Keep grass and weeds cut to 4” or less to prevent rapid fire spread.
- Trim up trees to prevent the spread of fire to the upper branches, or “crowns”.
- Remove all dead, dying and diseased vegetation around your home – maintain healthy trees and shrubs.
- Move wood piles at least 20 feet from your home and away from combustible materials or vegetation.
- Keep driveways clear by trimming trees and cutting weeds for easy access of emergency equipment.