Research has shown that reducing fuel sources around a structure can greatly increase the chance of it surviving a wildfire. Fire needs three elements to occur; fuel, oxygen and heat. Remove anyone of them and the fire will die out. Fuel is defined as anything that can burn. Land owners should systematically arrange trees and shrubs in a way that makes it difficult for fire to spread on your property. Many fires start from a single ember that lands on a fire fuel source. Fires should never be left unattended.

Importance of Fire

Fire is mostly seen as a destructive undesirable occurrence, but it can be a necessary part of a healthy forest ecosystem. Fire helps remove unwanted invasive species, parasites, diseases and insects, while the remaining ash provides needed nutrients to the soil. Fire also helps reduce the amount of fuel in the forest resulting in smaller, less severe wildfires. Some trees require the high temperature of fire to open their cones for seed dispersal and reproduction.

Fire Districts

Fire is mostly seen as a destructive undesirable occurrence, but it can be a necessary part of a healthy forest ecosystem. Fire helps remove unwanted invasive species, parasites, diseases and insects, while the remaining ash provides needed nutrients to the soil. Fire also helps reduce the amount of fuel in the forest resulting in smaller, less severe wildfires. Some trees require the high temperature of fire to open their cones for seed dispersal and reproduction.

Home and Fire Prevention

A fire break is a gap in vegetation or other combustible material that works to stop or slow the progress of a brush or wildfire. Rivers, lakes, canyons, roads or gravel trails are examples of both natural and man-made fire breaks. Developing a yearly schedule can help speed up implementing and maintainin fire prevention measures on your property. To create a firebreak:

  • Remove combustible vegetation from 30 feet around the house, a 100-foot buffer is ideal.
  • Short green lawn is OK.
  • Prune tree branches to at least 10 feet above the ground.
  • Keep limbs at least 15 feet away from the roof and chimney.
  • Clear roofs and gutters of debris.
  • Have a shovel, rake, axe, saw, bucket, roof ladder and hose ready for use during the fire season.
  • Replace flammable building materials and vegetation with more fire-resistant ones
  • When burning, have a good water source near by.

Evacuation

Prepare an evacuation strategy with two different paths from your property. Create a portable supply kit filled with the essentials: food, water, tools, and appropriate clothing. If you have a gas or propane tank on site, shut them off prior to evacuation. It is also a good idea to shut off the electricity at the circuit breaker box starting with individual breakers before pulling the main breaker. Gas lines should also be shut off at the meter as well as tanks. Most importantly, follow the instructions of your local fire or police officials during a fire event.

Backyard Burning

Backyard burning is allowed in rural Marion County, with certain limitations. Garbage burning is prohibited. Garbage must be properly disposed of curbside or at a local transfer station. If not done properly, backyard burning can cause public and environmental harm could result in a fine.

Marion County has designated areas directly outside of urban areas as special control areas for burning. Within these areas residents are only allowed to burn YARD DEBRIS on designated “Burn Days”. Burn Days historically occur in the Spring (March-June) and during the Fall (October-December). Burning on days not classified as a Burn Day, is subject to a fine. Contact your local fire district to find out when these days occur. and to check if a permit is needed.

Restricted Areas:

  • Within 3 miles of the city limits of an urban area with a population between 1,000 – 45,000.
  • Within 6 miles of the city limits of an urban area with a population of 45,000 +.

Rural Marion County residents outside of the restricted burn area are allowed to burn with permision from the local fire district:

  • Yard Debris
  • Clean and Untreated Wood
  • Paper and Cardboard
  • Woody Debris