Salem, Ore. -- This month the National Interagency Fire Coordination Center (NIFC) reported over 60,200 wildfires to-date for 1999. Of the over 2.73 million acres burned, more than 1.15 million acres were on state or private land. According to Oregon Office of Emergency Management director Myra Thompson Lee, as Oregon urban populations expand towards wooded suburbs and traditionally rural areas, wildfire threats increase.
"Dense brush and vegetation, combined with seasonal dry spells create an extremely dangerous situation for homes and businesses," said Lee. "Defensible perimeters are 'clear zones' around homes, out-buildings and businesses that provide more than early warning. They may well make the difference between smoke damage and total loss."
Oregon Emergency Management tips for creating defensible perimeters include:
- Removing dead plants, trees and shrubs.
- Cutting back excess leaves and low-hanging branches.
- Replacing flammable plants with more fire-resistant species.
- Thinning foliage, brush and debris within 30-feet of habitable structures.