City of Medford Oregon / Fire-Rescue / Fire and Life Safety / Fire & Life Safety Information / Wildfire Home SafetyWildland-Urban Interface Home Evaluation Program and READY, SET, GO!
In September 2009 we witnessed how quickly a fire could spread within the wildland-urban interface areas when, in just a few hours, the Deer Ridge Fire consumed 633 acres in the foothills of East Medford. Fortunately, no lives were lost and all homes were saved. Under different conditions, we may not be so fortunate in the future.
Maintaining a defensible space and eliminating home ignition hazards around your home can make a difference. We witnessed this on the Deer Ridge Fire. A house on Panorama Drive survived this fire and serves as a good example of how preparation can make all the difference. The fire burned towards the house and around the house, but lost momentum when it approached the house because the homeowner had previously thinned and mowed the vegetation around the house. The house was saved without firefighting intervention efforts.
Preparing your property before fire season is the best preventative measure to reduce the risk of losing your home in a wildfire. It also reduces the overall risk to your area. Working now to reduce ignition hazards around you home and create a defensible space will help protect your home should a wildfire develop in your area. For information about actions you can take now to prepare your property for wildfire season, visit:
In 2010, Medford Fire-Rescue began a Wildland-Urban Interface Home Evaluation Program. This is a campaign each year targeting specific hazardous wildfire areas. The goal is to take a proactive approach to reduce the wildfire threat by evaluating properties, giving advice, and providing educational material. We have several areas within our jurisdiction that have the potential for a wildfire disaster. Educating residents through evaluation of their properties regarding home ignition hazards, fuel reduction, defensible space, and access can greatly reduce the future threat that both homeowners and firefighters face. The evaluation process is completely voluntary and free. Evaluations are available from February through June each year. To schedule an assessment, please call 774-2300. For more information about how to prepare your property for wildfire season and for possible financial assistance opportunities, visit our office or the websites shown on the left side of this page.
In 2013 Medford Fire-Rescue became a Ready, Set, Go (RSG) Fire Department. The RSG Program works collaboratively with existing defensible space education tools, such as Firewise, and provides the tools for our firefighters to educate individuals on preparedness, situational awareness during a wildfire event, and to evacuate early for the safety of your family and responding firefighters. The Program stresses the following:
- Ready – Take personal responsibility and prepare long before the threat of a wildfire so your home is ready in case of a fire. Create defensible space by clearing brush away from your home. Use fire-resistant landscaping and harden your home with fire-safe construction measures. Assemble emergency supplies and belongings in a safe spot. Make sure all residents residing within the home are on the same page, plan escape routes.
- Set – Act immediately. Pack your vehicle with your emergency items. Stay abreast of the latest news, both reported on news crews and your local fire department for updated information on the fire.
- Go – Leave early! Following your Action Plan makes you prepared at this step of the process. Firefighters are now able to best maneuver the wildfire and ensuring you and your family’s safety.
Medford Fire-Rescue also began mapping properties for wildfire threat as it relates to risk management, pre-planning, citizen education, and incident management. In our jurisdiction there are over 2,800 properties located in the wildfire hazard areas. In 2014 MFR began by evaluating approximately 300 properties. Each year we plan to continue this process. The public can now view properties to see the determined assessed threat by visiting the site listed below and inputting the appropriate address. The public can also update the home risk profile based on mitigation efforts and submit the updated profile for review. Visit the following link and input your address to see the details about how your property was rated: https://apps.intterragroup.com/keno/
For additional information, see also the resource links under "Wildfire Home Safety" on the left side of this page.
The following are excellent videos showing steps you can take to prepare your family, home, and property for wildfire season:
Be Ember Prepared (University of Nevada)
Making Your Home Firewise
Preventing Home Ignitions (Firewise)