Wildfires are a natural part of living in the urban interface. Hundreds of homes are threatened, and several are lost as our region experiences another hot, dry, summer. Awbrey Hall, Skeleton, and Smith Rock are wildfire names etched in the minds of residents and emergency responders in Deschutes County, Oregon. Property losses have run into the millions and personal losses are immeasurable.
But...Our experiences and some help from FEMA has given us a new tool to combat these catastrophic losses. Project Impact enables Deschutes County to take a large step forward through pre-disaster planning and actions that will reduce the risk and consequences of wildland fire. Built upon local partnerships, government support, and business participation, Project Impact will further creation of defensible space, fuels modification around homes, visible addresses, fire resistive building materials, and emergency access to homes in the urban interface. Programs such as: FireFree, Fire Safe, FireWise, and Living With Fire will be expanded and communicated throughout the region to further spread the important message of prevention.
The most exciting part of Project Impact in Deschutes County is the collaborative approach being taken by all our partners. Established business partners are actively getting involved in pre-disaster planning and activities. New business partners are coming to the table to share their ideas and resources. Public and private partners are coming together to draw up strategies to create safer and more disaster resistant communities. Together, we are working to make Deschutes County a disaster resistant region.
When wildfires strike again, and they will, we anticipate that Project Impact activities will reduce the losses, and help individuals to accept personal responsibility for safeguarding their property. This will enhance the livability, businesses, and scenic beauty of our region. Project Impact will have an impact in Deschutes County!!