Be Ready, Be Safe

[wildland fire]

Summer's here. Picnics and parades, barbecues and baseball, a long hike in the woods or building sand castles at the beach. 'Tis the season for fun in the sun!

'Tis also, though, the season to be careful. Very careful. The days are long, the temperatures risings, the forest and fields drying out and flashes of lightening are frequent in the evening skies.

Welcome, in other words, to wildland fire season.

From year to year to year wildland fire activity has trended steadily in one direction. They've been more frequent, burned hotter and wildfire seasons have lasted longer. 2017, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said recently (, "was one of the most challenging years on record," with more than nearly 2.5 million acres burned in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, an area one-and-a-half times the size of the State of Delaware.

The 2018 wildfire season on pace to be even worse. "By mid-summer, we expect warmer and drier-than-average conditions," explained Ed Delgado of the National Interagency Fire Center (, "large amounts of grass, melting of below-average snowpack, and increasing potential for thunderstorm activity and lightning starts to create above-average potential for significant wildfire activity in a large part of the western U.S.".

A dozen western states are particularly at-risk. No surprise. Idaho, Oregon and Washington are among them. Which may mean you are. The Verisk Wildfire Risk Analysis for 2017 ( ranked Idaho 5th, Washington 6th and Oregon 8th for the total "households" - 474,900 - "at extreme or high risk from wildfire." Many are at-risk again this year. And if you own one of those 497,900 homes you - and yours - are too.

'Tis the season, as we've said, to be careful. And smart. And prepared. Below you'll find a number of links to sites that may be of value in your planning and preparation. Just as the best time to fix a roof is when the sun is shining, the best time to prepare for wildfires is now:

Prepare and Prevent

  • What you need to prepare for wildfires - Oregon Office of Emergency Management (
  • Wildfire - Are Your Prepared? ( - U.S. Fire Administration,
  • How To Make Your Home FIREWISE ( - a video with steps to reduce risks posed by wildfires
  • ( - What to Do Before, During & After a Wildfire,
  • How To Prepare for a Wildfire ( - Federal Emergency Management Agency.
  • Oregon Housing & Community Services ( - Wildfire Damage Housing Relief Program

Stay in Touch

  • Oregon Department of Emergency Management - Hazards in Oregon: Wildfires (
  • Oregon State Department of Forestry ( - Fire Information and Statistics
  • Get wildland fire updates ( from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources on Twitter.
  • Check for the latest updates ( from at the Northwest Interagency Coordinating Center.
  • Track current fire activity in your area at InciWeb (

Please, please, please remember. 'tis the season to be smart. The season to be ready. The season to be safe.


Content Archived: January 30, 2020