Create Defensible Space This Wildfire Awareness Month

News Release from Oregon State Fire Marshal
Posted on FlashAlert: May 6th, 2024 7:53 AM

SALEM, Ore. – May is Wildfire Awareness Month, and the Oregon State Fire Marshal is encouraging all Oregonians to get prepared for the upcoming wildfire season. Creating defensible space is one of the most important things you can do to protect your home and increase the chances it will survive a wildfire.

The OSFM offers free defensible space assessments to Oregonians who want to start creating defensible space or those who want to optimize their current plan. For a limited time, people living in select areas of the state may be eligible for a $250 payment after receiving an assessment. Request an assessment and read more details at

“Creating defensible space might feel overwhelming but taking it one project at a time can go a long way in protecting your home,” Oregon State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple said. “May is a great time to tackle these projects before the heat of summer arrives.”

A few projects you can consider this month include: 
  • Space and prune trees.
  • Remove leaves, needles, wood, bark mulch, and other debris from within 100 feet of buildings or to the property line. 
  • Remove leaves, needles, and other debris from roofs and gutters.
  • Move flammable material away from the outside of your home, including mulch, flammable plants, leaves, and needles.  
  • Prevent plants from growing directly under the eaves; a minimum of five feet away is recommended. 
  • Keep firewood piles and lumber at least 30 feet from any structure. 
  • Maintain the plants in your yard. Clean out old leaves or pine needles from your plants and prune away dead parts.  
For a detailed guide on how to create defensible space at your home, click here.

When creating defensible space, you may have debris to get rid of. The OSFM suggests chipping, composting, or recycling it. If you must burn the debris, follow all local burning restrictions and be safe when using fire. Escaped debris burns are the number one cause of human-sparked fires in Oregon.
During Wildfire Awareness Month, the OSFM, along with our partners, is encouraging, empowering, and informing Oregonians to help prevent and prepare for wildfire. For more resources and information, visit the OSFM’s Wildfire Awareness Month webpage.

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