Helping Prevent Wildfires Starts at Home

It’s everyone’s responsibility to help prevent human-caused wildfires. Keep Oregon Green’s goal is to remind every Oregon resident and tourist to practice basic wildfire safety while visiting Oregon’s scenic areas, and raise awareness of weather conditions, restrictions, and wildfire prevention activities around the state.

 Backyard Burning

Many Oregonian’s burn their backyard debris, but most don’t know that escaped debris burning is the leading cause of human-caused wildfires in our state. Review these tips and learn how you can prevent your debris burn from starting a wildfire.

  • Chip, compost or haul your debris to a recycling center
  • Call your local fire agency or air authority before you burn 
  • Check the weather forecast
  • Clear a 10-foot radius around your burn pile
  • Always have fire tools on site and stay by your burn pile 
  • Never use gasoline
  • Burn yard debris only
  • Make sure your burn pile is completely out 


Equipment fires typically rank as the second leading cause of wildfires on state-protected lands in Oregon. Spring is the time to clean up excess vegetation, not during the summer when fuels are dry and susceptible to a spark from a steel blade striking a rock or emitted by a hot exhaust system. Use the right tool for the job and help keep your equipment from starting the next wildfire.

  • Call first to find out if equipment use is restricted 
  • Use gas-powered equipment early in the day. 
  • Use a weed trimmer with plastic line. 
  • Keep the exhaust system in proper working order. 
  • Make sure your gas-powered tools are equipped with approved spark arresters.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher or water-charged hose close by.


You’ve read the stories, seen the pictures on TV, and heard homeowners talk about the devastation they returned to after a wildfire. Most of that devastation could have been prevented with some planning and a little weekend work in the yard. If you live next to nature, here are a few tips to prevent fires from starting near or spreading to your home.

  • Create a 30-foot defensible space around your home that is free of combustible material 
  • Clean up dead or dying plants, branches, leaves and needles 
  • During fire season, move wood piles 30 feet from the home.
  • Remove flammable plants and replace with fire-resistant species 
  • Prune tree branches to a height of 6-10 feet to remove “ladder fuels.”
  • Cut grass to less than four inches 
  • Keep shrubs low and away from the drip line of trees
  • Maintain driveway clearance that is free of flammable debris to allow fire engine access
  • Go to for more information


Okay smokers, you’ve heard this more times than we can count. Be safe, be smart, and make sure your smoking material is out and properly disposed of. Cigarette butts can smolder for hours before touching off a fire. Smoking is your right, BUTT please put it out right.

  • Dispose of smoking materials in deep, sturdy ashtrays.
  • Make sure butts and ashes are extinguished by using water or sand
  • Never discard butts on the ground or in vegetation outdoors. 


If you are celebrating the 4th of July in Oregon’s outdoors, you’re wise to leave all fireworks at home. Fireworks are prohibited on all Oregon beaches, in parks, and campgrounds, and the use of fireworks is prohibited on all national forestland and most other public lands. Legal fireworks can only be purchased from Oregon permitted fireworks retailers and stands, and regulations limit where those fireworks may be used. Enjoy fireworks where they belong: on the pavement at home- away from structures, vehicles, and flammable vegetation. Remember the four B’s of safe fireworks:

  • Be Prepared. 
  • Be Safe. 
  • Be Responsible. 
  • Be Aware. 
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