SALEM – Many thousands of Oregonians live in the wildland/urban interface – areas where homes are intermixed with the forest. 

While that comes with risk from fire, officials say some planning and hard work can offer protection in many cases.

Mary Ellen Holly, President/CEO of the Keep Oregon Green Association, advises those who live in such situations to make sure they have at least 30 feet around the perimeter of their homes cleared. That means:

• Removing the dead and dying material that accumulates around forest homes.  

• Cutting out the dead branches or brush, clean the leaves and needles out of the gutters and off the roof. 

• Pruning branches from the lower 10 feet of trees to remove “ladder fuels” that can conduct fire from the ground level into the crowns of trees.

• Pruning any branches that may overhang the home and/or chimneys. 

• Planting fire-resistant landscapes.  Most fire resistant plants can be found at your local nursery. 

“We don’t want you to have to change that wonderful environment in which you wish to live,” Holly noted. “But you need to provide breaks in the vegetation to keep fire from spreading, keep the plants and grass pruned, watered, and green, and keep firewood and propane tanks uphill and 30 feet or more away from the home.

“With a few days’ work, you can breathe much more easily knowing you have done what you can to protect yourselves against wildfire.”

She said “neighborhood” efforts at the three P’s –  planning, pruning, and planting – can bring about even greater results for wildfire prevention.

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