Lush and natural vegetation is part of Portland's charm, and is one of the things that makes our city beautiful and livable. However, our wildland environment creates significant fire hazards, threatening lives and property. The abundance of plant life provides fuel to burn; and our steep topography, combined with seasonal hot and dry winds, allows fire to spread rapidly.
Each year, wildland fires consume hundreds of homes in the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI). Wildfires in an urban setting like Portland can be extremely dangerous and difficult to control. Because of our dense population and the number of structures in wildland settings, we have less time to evacuate residents and protect personal property. The potential for loss of life and property is very real.
To prepare your home against the threat of wildland fires, follow these three critical steps:
Ready - Be Ready. Prepare for the fire threat by creating defensible space around your home, assembling emergency supplies, and planning evacuation routes.
Set - Situational awareness. As a fire approaches, stay alert and know how to receive the latest news and information on the fire from local media, your local fire department and public safety. Pack your emergency items and prepare to evacuate if necessary.
Go! - Act early. By leaving early, you have the best chance of surviving a wildland fire. You also support firefighting efforts by keeping the area and roads clear of congestion, which allows firefighters to best maneuver resources to combat the fire.
Portland Fire & Rescue's Wildland Fire Action Guide and other resources on this website provide you with tips and tools you need to prepare for a wildland fire threat, have situational awareness when a fire starts, and to leave early when a wildfire threatens.
Sign up for a WUI Home Assessment
Portland Fire & Rescue is currently conducting assessments upon the resident’s request. The assessments focus attention on the home ignition zone and provide recommendations on ways to eliminate the fire’s potential relationship with the house. Removal of some vegetation, trimming plants and cutting back trees around the home are some examples of good practices to harden your home against wildfires. If you would like to receive an assessment of your home please fill out the online form at the following link.
Additional resources provided for reference:
Fire-resistant Plants for Home Landscapes: Selecting Plants that May Reduce Your Risk from Wildfire, PNW 590 (Oregon State University Extension Service)
How to Manage Landscaping in Ezones - Bureau of Planning & Sustainability
Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety - Ember Storm Demo