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Oregon Defensible Space

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Let's Create Defensible Space

Defensible space can make a significant difference during a wildfire, offering your home or business protection. Embers are the leading cause of home loss during a wildfire. They can travel up to three miles ahead of the large flame front.

Defensible space is the buffer you create between your home or business and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any wildland area that surrounds it. Items to consider are plants, landscape arrangement, and outdoor furniture. This gives embers or flames fewer options to latch onto and ignite.

Click the images below to explore how to create defensible space and tips to help protect your home against wildfire.

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Defensible Space Checklist

To guide homeowners through the process of creating defensible space, the Governor's Fire Service Policy Council, the OSFM, and other state agencies developed a checklist. This guide walks home and property owners through defensible space best practices including tree spacing, driveway access, and other considerations. 

Following these recommendations can increase the likelihood that your home or business will survive a wildfire. They may not eliminate wildfire threat, so it is important to follow all evacuation orders in the event of a wildfire.

Click the banner below to download a printable copy of this guide.

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Fire-Adapted Organizations and Programs

Many organizations and programs are working to create fire-adapted communities in Oregon: 

  • Firewise USA®, a program by the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), provides a collaborative framework to help neighbors get organized, find direction, and take action to protect their homes and communities and reduce wildfire risk. Learn more here and find a Firewise community near you. 
  • The Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), created by the Healthy Forests Restoration Act, helps communities collaborate with federal and state land agencies to achieve common goals and tackle often-controversial issues. Communities with CWPPs have priority for Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management hazardous fuels reduction projects. 
  • Project Wildfire is a Deschutes County community organization that facilitates, educates, disseminates, and maximizes community efforts toward effective fire planning and mitigation. Learn more about the seven Community Wildfire Protection Plans in Deschutes County, FireFree educational program, and more
  • Fire Adapted Oregon is an OSFM initiative built using statewide data, science, defensible space, and the community risk reduction framework. The initiative uses an integrated and strategic investment of resources to reduce fires and their impact on the public.


Leslie Neu
Defensible Space Program Coordinator