Fire safety preparation

MEDFORD, Ore. – It’s officially fire season in parts of Southern Oregon. There haven’t been any major events yet, but officials say now is the time to get prepared. While you can’t control the heat, you can help prevent fires from spreading around your home.

“There’s a lot of different things you can do individually and as a community to reduce the risk of fire in your area,” Natalie Weber, Oregon Dept. of Forestry, said.

While the Oregon Department of Forestry recommends prepping for fire season in the winter and spring months, it’s better late than never.

“We are currently in low fire danger, which means people can’t do any burning, but what they can do right now is mowing,” Weber said.

Tall grass and debris can make it easier for fire to spread, so keep it short. Make sure there is a five foot perimeter around your home, and keep your gutters free of dry leaves. Experts say it’s never too early to plan for the smoke.

“Go ahead and get out to one of their local hardware stores and purchase their N-95 masks in preparation for smoke season, as well,” Terri Eubanks, Ashland Fire and Rescue, said.

To stay updated with things like evacuations, make sure you are signed up for emergency alerts.

“And you are often not home and you have a cell phone, so why not get the information right at your fingertips?” Eubanks said.

Landlines are automatically connected to local emergency alert systems, but if you want the alerts to come straight to your smart phone, you’ll need to opt in to the system for your area.

“We want to get information to people as quickly as possible if there’s an evacuation for a wildfire, if there’s a street closure for flooding,” Eubanks said.

For people who live in Jackson and Josephine counties, visit rvem.org to sign up for citizen alerts. To opt in to Ashland’s system, text 97520 to 888-777.

Visit your county’s website to find the best way to sign up for emergency alerts where you live.

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