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During the hot, dry summer season it is important to take preventative measures

PMG FILE PHOTO - TVF&R officials are recommending property owners take steps to ensure that homes are more defensible if fire occurs.

On July 20 a three-acre brush fire burned just outside of Sherwood. Crews protected a home and a hazelnut orchard, as the fire burned within 200 feet after a downed powerline ignited the grass nearby. Since there are many homes nestled among the field in wildland urban areas and natural spaces, the heat and dry ground fires can easily start and quickly spread. Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue (TVF&R) is recommending taking steps to ensure that homes are more defensible if a fire occurs.

"Regarding how to protect your home in case wildland and urban interface, the first thing is access," Stefan Myers, TVF&R public affairs officer, said. "How accessible can we get key fire apparatuses up to your home? Is your driveway lit up, clear or do you have multiple exit routes? It is important if our trucks can turn around.

"Second, are their fuels near or around the home? A large number of untrimmed bushes, a flammable roof? If the fire moves into the untrimmed bushes and flairs up into the limbs and moves into the canopy of the tree it greatly increases the diameter where the fire can spread."

To ensure that you can keep your home in the safest condition possible, here are a few tips to prevent wildland fires from destroying any structures:

-Maintain a 30-foot safety zone around your home: remove leaves, brush and other combustibles.

-Clear debris from your gutters and underneath decks and crawl spaces.

-Mow and water lawns and other green belts regularly.

-Delimb trees at least 10 feet up from the ground.

-Plant low-growing, fire-resistant plants, groundcover, perennials and annuals near your home.

-Keep in mind access for large fire trucks. Driveways should at least be 12 feet wide, have 10 feet of vegetation clearance from the centerline out, and about 14 feet overhead.

TVF&R offers complimentary inspections to homeowners who reside in wildland, forest and natural space areas. For more information, call 503-649-8577.

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