▶️ Free Central Oregon program inspects outside your home for fire risk factors


Bend Fire Inspector Melissa Steele says the High Desert is in a high danger zone currently, but expects that to change to extreme danger very soon.

“As we’ve seen in our brush fires the last few days, that things are burning and so it’s just going to get dryer,” said Steele.

Perfect timing for a free fuel reduction program called the Central Oregon Wildfire Workforce Partnership.

“To help the community and neighborhoods to get rid of that dead vegetation that does not need to be there in Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson Counties,” said Steele.

The program is put on by the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council in partnership with the non-profit Heart of Oregon Corp. 

Fire inspectors will look at three zones outside your house.

The first zone is the zero to five foot zone. Checking your roof, gutters anything combustible from zero to five feet within your home, including on the ground.

“So what I see is you have fire resistant plants, which is excellent,” said Steele about checking the first of three zones on a local house.

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Zone number two, the five feet to 30 feet zone, looking at dry weeds and plants, trees and how far off the ground they are.

“We’ve got some pine trees that are right next to a wooden fence, right next to a house with wooden sighting,” said Steele. “What we are wanting to do in that five to 30 zone is remove anything that is not necessary.”

Finally zone three, the 30 to 100-foot zone.

Spacing and thinning out trees to reduce the intensity if a wildfire does come.

“The ladder fuel is, think of it as climbing a ladder,” said Steele. “The fire starts on the surface, it moves up into the grass, which then moves up into bushes, which then can move up into the branches of the tree.”

Again, it’s a free inspection. 

So, If you feel like your area is in a fire danger, you can call Bend Fire and Rescue at 541-322-6300.

“We can come out and give you that assessment and we can tell you what kind of fire hazard you are in and give you that education to make the right plan for your neighborhood,” said Steele.

You can also email lstreet@coic.org.


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