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Although wildfire is a natural occurrence in ecosystems, it can be dangerous and destructive when it spread into residential areas. This page will help you find the resources you need to better prepare your home from wildfire damage. Our staff are ready and available to assist with any further questions.
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. Consider creating a defensible space around your structures, and hardening your home and landscapes to be better protected against wildfires.
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.
Low intensity frequent fires have been used by humans long before European settlement in the Willamette Valley. Many of our native plant and animal species have evolved with this disturbance regime and depend on it for food and shelter. Although fire suppression has largely dominated the narrative of fire on the landscape since colonial settlement, the Kalapuya Tribes that have and continue to live in the Willamette Valley use cultural burning as a way to manage the landscape.
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 maintaining fire prevention measures on your property. To create a firebreak:
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 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.
Rural Marion County residents outside of the restricted burn area are allowed to burn with permission from the local fire district: