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Planning ahead for the fire season

Barrington Heights neighborhood to host Firewise clean up day


If you see a mass of uniforms from Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue and the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) July 19 in the Barrington Heights neighborhood, don’t panic.

TVFR and ODF won’t be there to fight a fire; quite the opposite, in fact. As part of its effort to become a “Firewise” community, the Barrington Heights neighborhood will host a clean-up and education day with the help of both agencies.

The goal of the event is to help reduce fire hazards around the neighborhood and teach residents how to best prepare for wildfires. Hosting a Firewise Day is one of the five requirements to gain the national Firewise distinction, which is held by more than 1,000 communities across the country.

The Firewise program, according to its mission statement, “is a process that empowers neighbors to work together in reducing their wildfire risk.” More than 50 neighborhoods in Oregon are designated as “Firewise.”

“Firewise is a national program,” said TVFR spokesperson Piseth Pich. “There are certain steps you have to perform for becoming a Firewise community — overall holistic efforts, doing home assessments and creating the spaces in those communities.”

According to Pich, the day will begin with a “morning briefing” at 8 a.m., followed by a full day’s worth of physical work - trimming trees, clearing shrubs, removing combustible materials from properties.

“One of the things we’re hoping we can do is potentially do a home assessment and (identify) defensible spaces,” Pich said. “If any fire does come up from I-205, having a good break and good trees near a home lessens the possibility of having a home actually catch fire.”

Barrington Heights residents are concerned about fire hazards from the interstate highway that sits adjacent to the neighborhood, according to neighborhood association president Steve Garner, and a Firewise designation would help ease some of those worries.

“It’s been in discussion for a little while,” Pich said. “One of the concerns Steve Garner brought up was, ‘How do we protect ourselves if there is a fire or risk that comes up hillside from I-205? In discussions, it came out that Firewise is the way to educate all homeowners and fit in terms of meeting (Gardner’s) needs.”

Pich estimated that the Firewise activities would last from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A chipper machine for flammable materials will be provided free of charge.

“Crews from ODF and ODOT will be helping clear debris and moving it to the street,” Pich said. “And then the following day a chipper and hauler will come and move all of that.”

To learn more about Firewise, visit firewise.org.


By Patrick Malee
Reporter
503-636-1281 ex
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