Experts share tips on how to keep your home safe from wildfire

SOUTHERN OREGON, —Fire season is in full swing in Jackson and Josephine counties. That’s why firefighters want you to take steps, to protect your home.
Local fire departments are encouraging southern Oregon and northern California residents, to create defensible space at home.

With active fire seasons becoming the norm, creating a defensible space around your home is something every homeowner is encouraged to do. A fire reduction specialist tells us creating defensible space like this homeowner did could be a game-changer in saving your home from a fire.

“I would honestly say the clock is ticking, we’ve seen longer fire seasons and each season seems to get longer and hotter,” said Jim Kusz with Oregon State Fire Marshall’s Office.

The Oregon State Fire Marshall’s Office sharing an example of a homeowner that made their home more fire defensible. It’s part of the state’s education outreach, to show how easy it is to take steps to keep your home safe.

“It’s really common sense, if you love your home, why not take steps to protect it?” said Kusz.

From the outside, this home looks pretty normal. But the owner took out nearby growing bushes, and blackberries, clearing the area of all fuels, so a fire won’t spread as far.

The Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office says you’ll want a good 5 feet of nothing combustible by the home. Homeowners should clean roofs and gutters of dead leaves, install mesh screening in vents to reduce embers that could pass through and remove anything stored underneath decks or porches.

“We need to prepare for that now and that’s why anything you can do little steps at a time to make some kind of mitigation and defensible space, hardening home by using clean roof gutters clean,” said Kusz.

Captain Ian Kassab with Jackson County Fire District 3 does community risk reduction and fuels mitigation work. He says there are only so many firefighters. Whether your home survives a fire, could be up to you.

“In a wildland event, we may only have one engine protecting 10 to 15 homes so really it comes down to what the homeowner does to their property prior to the fire event that’s going to make the biggest difference,” said Captain Kassab.

Both fire officials stress the importance of the community doing its part before it’s too late.

Fire officials say you and your neighbors should look into becoming a FireWise Community. For more on how to join click here.

You can find a full list of defensible space tips here.

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Jenna King is the 6pm and 11pm anchor for NBC5 News. Jenna is a Burbank, CA native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at Oregon she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through her internship with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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