Grants Pass firewise garden teaches community safe plants for fire season

Grants Pass, Ore. — Fire season has officially started.

That’s means starting Sunday, no burning, fireworks, or tracer ammunition.

While the chance for fire is still low right now, there are steps you can take to lower the risk even more — of fire spreading to your home.

A firewise community in Grants Pass recently replanted a local firesafe garden to educate the public on the safest plants to have around your home.

“We both love gardening,” firewise gardener Renee Barron said.

Renee Barron and Linda Barkey are two of seven from their firewise community who maintain a firesafe garden next to the Hillcrest Fire Station in Grants Pass.

“The idea of a demonstration garden is to give you ideas of what plants to put in your yard that are less flammable,” Barron said.

There are five sections to the garden teaching the community what plants are best for fire prevention…

“Japanese maples, dogwoods, any of those green leafy plants that stay moist all year round,” Fire Lieutenant Travis Marsh said.

As well as those that are most dangerous like cedar or pine trees.

“Usually the ones that are really aromatic and you smell that real astringent piney smell are gonna be the most hazardous,” Fire Lieutenant Marsh said.

In addition to making the station look nice, Fire Lieutenant Marsh says he loves having the garden to spread awareness.

“One of our priorities when there’s a fire threatening homes is to assess each home that is potentially threatened and look at the plants and if they’ve already taken care of the fuels next to their home, it’s gonna create a safer environment for everybody,” Fire Lieutenant Marsh said.

And while they’re aware there’s only so much you can do to prepare for a fire, Barron and Barkey say they feel safer being a part of a firewise community.

“Because we’re a firewise community, the fire department is well aware of our area now and so if there were a fire in the area, they know our neighborhood, our homes… and that gives me a level of comfort,” Barkey said.

To find out more information on firewise yards or becoming a firewise community, you can call Grants Pass Fire Prevention at 541-450-6204.

You can also visit the Parkway Public Safety Station at 800 East Park St., Grants Pass, 97527.

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