Benton County and its partners are trying to spread the word through a wildfire awareness campaign, including information on how to best protect a home. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Benton County announced that in August, it is partnering with the Oregon Department of Forestry, City of Corvallis, Corvallis Police Department, Benton County Sheriff’s Office and the Benton County Health Department for a wildfire awareness and outreach campaign to share information about prevention, creating defensible space, evacuation and alerts, evacuation shelters and wildfire health concerns. 

“Recent wildfires have proved that it has never been more important to prepare ourselves, our families and our communities for wildfire,” Benton County Emergency Manager Bryan Lee. “We are encouraging community members to prevent and prepare for wildfire. One way to do that is by creating defensible space around your home.”

The National Fire Protection Association encourages the public to practice wildfire prevention at home by creating defensible space, county officials said. Recommendations have been established for three zones — immediate, intermediate and extended. Actions such as removing dead leaves, debris and pine needles from roofs and gutters and moving flammable material away from wall exteriors will minimize the likelihood of flames or surface fire touching the home or any attachments. Flammable materials could include mulch, flammable plants, leaves and needles, firewood piles and anything that can burn.

Protection Unit Forester Leo Williamson from the Oregon Department of Forestry Philomath Unit said preparing for and preventing wildfire takes a coordinated effort that includes the public and government agencies working together.

“Daily, our fire crews and cooperators stress the importance of preparedness so we are ready to respond quickly and suppress fires on the landscape,” Williamson said. “We encourage the community to embrace the same attitude in how they approach preparing themselves for a wildfire event.”

Willamson said preparation goes beyond having a go bag and an evacuation plan.

“Creating defensible space that includes maintaining good clearance on your driveway for emergency vehicle access is an important piece to that puzzle to protect your home from wildfire,” he said.Information on how to create defensible space and to learn other prevention measures around a home are available at the Keep Oregon Green website.