Funding to Celebrate Wildfire Community Preparedness Day

April 18, 2016

Contact:
Cindy Kolomechuk
National Fire Plan Coordinator
Oregon Dept. of Forestry
503-945-7444, cindy.kolomechuk@oregon.gov

This year, eight Oregon communities at risk from wildfire were awarded $500 each to implement wildfire prevention projects on Wildfire Preparedness Day, May 7. Through its Firewise Communities USA Program, the National Fire Protection Association and State Farm Insurance are providing cash awards of $500 each to 125 projects across the nation to be implemented during the May 7, 2016 event.

The eight Oregon communities that successfully competed for these cash awards include: Grants Pass (2), Berkenfield, Bend, Corvallis, Shady Cove, Central Point and Ashland.

Is your home at risk of wildland fire? A staggering 751,672 Oregonians (occupying about 342,000 homes) live in forested areas, making them vulnerable to wildfire. Get involved! Take part in National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day on May 7. Commit a couple of hours, or the entire day, and watch as your actions bring your community together and help reduce your wildfire risk.

“Communities that survive wildfires have one thing in common: They are prepared,” said Cindy Kolomechuk with the Oregon Department of Forestry. “Taking the time to create defensible space around homes can make all the difference in the world.”

Creating defensible space around homes has been proved to minimize wildfire risk while increasing the safety of residents and firefighters. The National Firewise Communities USA Program has crucial tips for creating this defensible space:
• Maintain landscapes at least 30-100 feet around a home to reduce fire danger
• Provide safe access to firefighters so they can protect it

Kolomechuk encouraged residents of communities that in forested areas to challenge their family, friends and local organizations to participate in Wildfire Preparedness Day.

Reducing losses from wildfires is a shared responsibility among emergency managers, response agencies, and local community members.

“Working with your neighbors to reduce wildfire hazards around homes before the fire starts is the best investment you can make to protect your property and community from potentially devastating losses,” she said.

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