Published by Kristin Babbs
April 25th, 2018
GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Grants Pass is one of seven Oregon communities that have received small grants to hold wildfire prevention projects on Wildfire Community Preparedness Day May 5. Grants Pass, along with LaPine, Lostine, Ukiah, Umpqua and two neighborhoods in Corvallis, will join 144 other communities nationwide that will work to reduce their wildfire risk on the same day.
The National Fire Protection Association’s Community Wildfire Preparedness Day gives people of all ages a chance to plan and participate in a risk reduction or a wildfire preparedness activity that makes their community safer. This is the program’s fifth year.
Grants Pass and the other Oregon communities successfully competed nationwide for the cash awards. Each will host a number of activities to promote wildfire awareness and safety. The project in Grants Pass is creating a turnaround for emergency vehicles, such as fire engines, in the Skyline West neighborhood.
“Last summer, over 7,500 people were evacuated from their homes and nearly 20,000 structures were threatened by wildfire,” said Kristin Babbs, president of the non-profit fire prevention organization Keep Oregon Green. ”Because Oregon’s landscapes and communities are so diverse, wildfire prevention solutions are not one-size-fits-all across the state. It is important for folks to engage with their local fire agencies and work together at the local level to create strong relationships and resilient communities that can withstand the damaging effects of wildfires.”
Communities that survive fire events are the ones that are prepared and have a plan, according to National Fire Plan Coordinator Jenna Nelson with the Oregon Department of Forestry. “Working with your neighbors and creating defensible space around homes can make a huge difference in protecting your home from fire,” Nelson said.
“Reducing losses from wildfires is a shared responsibility among emergency managers, response agencies and local community members,” said Fire Prevention Coordinator Tom Fields with the Oregon Department of Forestry. Through educational, individual and group activities, residents can learn more about the importance of wildfire preparedness and planning, and the power of prevention.”
Projects for Wildfire Preparedness Day can range from a few hours up to an entire day. Below are some examples of things you can do to reduce the risk of home and property becoming fuel for a wildfire:
- Remove debris and dry leaves 3 to 5 feet from a home’s foundation, and up to 30 feet as time permits.
- Keep your roof and gutters free of downed tree limbs, broken branches and leaves.
- Distribute wildfire safety information, like the free Firewise Toolkit, to neighbors or staff a table at a grocery or hardware store and distribute free Firewise and emergency preparedness materials that can be ordered from the Firewise catalog or from READY.gov.
- Join forces with neighbors and pool your resources to pay for a chipper service to remove slash.
- Help an elderly relative or neighbor enter emergency numbers and the names of close relatives into their cell phones; and in large font post their phone number and street address above their landline so it can easily be seen when providing information to an emergency dispatcher.
Find additional project ideas and learn more about the national Wildfire Community Preparedness Day event on May 5 by visiting www.wildfireprepday.org.
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About Keep Oregon Green Keep Oregon Green (KOG) is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization that promotes programs and messages encouraging the public to work together in their local communities to prevent the risk of wildfire. Our work targets residents, particularly those in the wildland-urban interface, and recreationists using Oregon’s public and private lands.
About State Farm The mission of State Farm is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto, home and individual life insurance in the United States. Its 18,000 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve more than 83 million policies and accounts – nearly 81 million auto, home, life, health and commercial policies, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 33 on the 2017 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com.
About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global, nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information visit www.nfpa.org. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.