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Published on Apr 20, 2011
In the Pacific Northwest, fires have historically been a natural part of the changing landscape. As homeowners continue to build directly adjacent to fire-prone natural areas, they must take special precautions to protect their lives, homes and property.
One way to do this is to create a defensible space around your home by modifying, reducing or clearing potential wildfire fuel materials or vegetation to create a barrier that will slow the spread of wildfire toward your home. A defensible space also allows room for firefighters to fight the fire safely. Three critical steps in creating a defensible space include:
• Using fire resistant building materials • Landscaping with ﬁ re resistant plants • Reducing flammable materials or fuels, such as invasive trees and shrubs, plant trimmings, firewood, fiberglass boats, and recreational vehicles around the home
These actions do not ensure that your home will survive a wildfire, but they make your landscape and home more wildfire resistant, or at least able to slow the advance of a wildfire. Depending on the expanse of an approaching fire, the number of homes threatened, and the number of fire engines deployed to each neighborhood, homes may survive the fire based solely on the performance of the fire-resistant characteristics of the building structure itself. By using fire resistant materials when building or remodeling, the chances of your home surviving a wildfire are greatly increased.
Remember, urban wildfires are a community concern. Watch this video and learn how to take part in prevention, mitigation, and evacuation in the event of a wildfire here in Portland, Oregon.