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Wildfire Prevention

People living in the wildland-urban interface (WUI), where homes and other structures are built in or near woodland settings or forests, face wildfire danger. Wildfires can be ignited by escaped debris burning, the careless tossing of a cigarette, an unattended campfire, or from natural causes like lightning, and they spread fast.

Current Wildfire Danger Map

Escaped debris burns are the leading human cause of wildfires in Oregon. Fall and spring are ideal times to reduce excess vegetation around your home that could pose an escaped fire threat. 

Lawn mowers and chain saws are examples of equipment that can cause a wildfire when sparks ignite vegetation such as grass, weeds, or bark dust. If burning is the only option to dispose of woody material, please follow safe burning practices. 

  • Recycle yard debris. Chip, compost, or haul debris to a recycling center. Do not use wood chips for ground cover within five feet of a building.
  • Call before you burn yard debris. Check with your local fire agency and/or air protection authority to learn if there are any burning restrictions and if a permit is required.
  • Know the weather forecast. Never burn on dry or windy days because it is easy for (burning) open fires to spread out of control. Be prepared to extinguish your pile when conditions change.
  • Burn only yard debris. State regulations prohibit the open burning of any material that creates dense smoke or noxious odors,  including garbage and food waste.
  • Keep your burn pile small or use a burn barrel. Clear the ground of combustible grass and debris at least a 15-foot radius around a burn barrel and at least a 25-foot radius around your burn pile, and make sure there are no tree branches or power lines above. Wet the surrounding area before, during, and after the burn. 
  • Consider the size of your burn pile. Don’t burn more than you can control at one time. Consider feeding a small pile rather than burning a big pile. 
  • Always have water and fire tools on site. Keep a water-charged hose, bucket of water, shovel, and dirt or sand nearby to extinguish the fire.
  • Stay with the fire. Oregon law requires you to monitor a debris burn continually from start to finish until completely out.
  • Extinguish the fire. Drown the burn pile with water, stir the coals, and drown again. Repeat until the fire is completely out. Completely out means you can touch any leftover material with a bare hand.
  • Recheck the fire. Recheck old burn piles using the 'extinguish the fire' method above, as they can retain heat for weeks and rekindle when weather warms and wind blows.

  • Know fire risks and respect fire restrictions such as campfire bans.
  • Check if campfires are allowed.
  • Keep a shovel and water nearby to extinguish any escaped embers.
  • Select a site away from grasses, shrubs, overhanging branches, and stacked firewood.
    • Existing fire pits in established campgrounds are best.
  • Scrape away leaves and litter to bare soil, at least 10 feet on all sides of the fire pit.
  • Circle your campfire pit with rocks. Keep your campfire small and add wood in small amounts. Start your campfire with paper, cardboard, or manufactured fire starters. Don't use gasoline or diesel.
  • Never leave the campfire unattended.
  • ​Before going to bed or leaving the campsite, drown the fire with water, stir the coals, and drown again. Repeat until the fire is out and it is cool to the touch.​​

  • Vehicles are required to have a shovel and fire extinguisher or at least a gallon of water in many areas.
  • Avoid parking or driving on dry grass; your vehicle can start a wildfire. Park on gravel surfaces or developed roadside pull-outs to avoid a vehicle's hot exhaust system touching dry grass.
  • Ensure all parts of your vehicle, from mufflers to chains, are secure and not dragging.
  • Check tire pressure, wheel bearing lubrication, and the possible metal-on-metal contact of worn-out brakes.
  • Maintain and clean exhaust systems and spark arrestors.
  • ATVs are required to be inspected when in use on public lands.
  • Operate ATVs only on established roads and trails on public lands.​

  • Only use grills and smokers outdoors.
    • Place them away from your home’s siding, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
    • Do not use on a wooden porch, deck, or balcony and never leave unattended while cooking.
  • Empty coals and ash into a metal container with a tight-fitting lid that is only used to collect coals and ashes.
    • Keep the container at least 10 feet away from the home.
    • ​Dispose of coals and ash only after they are cool.​​

Recreational vehicles are a popular way to enjoy all that Oregon has to offer. Whether you use your RV as your residence, for travelling, or both, it's important to understand fire prevention and safety of your vehicle to protect you and your family.

Cooking Appliances
  • Safe operation
    • Make sure to have proper ventilation before operating the appliance.
    • Open an overhead vent or turn on the exhaust fan.
    • Keep anything that can catch fire away from burners.
    • Never use cooking appliances for heating.
  • If you smell gas
    • ​Check your stove knobs to ensure they are off.
    • Put out all open flames (pilot lights, lamps, smoking materials, etc.).
    • Shut off the gas supply.
    • Do not operate electrical switches. Turning a switch on or off can create a spark and may cause an explosion.
    • Open doors, windowsy, and vents.
    • Leave the RV until the odor is gone.
    • Have the gas system inspected and repaired by a qualified professional.
Electric Heaters
  • All heaters need space. Keep things that can burn such as paper, furniture, bedding, or curtains, at least three feet from heating equipment.
  • Plug space heaters directly into an electrical outlet. Do not use extension cords or power strips.
  • Purchase and use portable space heaters with automatic shut-off, so if they're tipped over, they will shut off.
  • Place space heaters on a solid, flat surface.
General Electrical Safety
  • Make sure the power cord connecting the RV to the campground electricity supply is in good condition.
  • Inspect for cracked or damaged cords, broken plugs, or loose connections on all appliances.
  • Avoid electrical overload. Limit the number of appliances operating at one time.​
Fire Extinguishers
  • Install an extinguisher near the primary exit and know how to use it. When in doubt, just get out.
  • Extinguishers are meant to put out small fires.
  • Use extinguishers only if it can be done without putting yourself or others in danger.
  • Once a month, turn dry chemical extinguishers upside down and tap on the bottom to loosen the powder.
  • Make sure the needle on the gauge is in the green, indicating it is fully charged.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms
  • Install a CO alarm inside your RV.
  • If the alarm chirps, replace the batteries or the entire alarm, depending on the manufacturer's recommendations.
  • Replace CO alarms based on manufacturer's recommendations.​
Smoke Alarms
  • Install a smoke alarm inside your RV.
  • If the alarm chirps, replace the batteries or the entire alarm, depending on manufacturer's recommendations.
  • Replace smoke alarms every 10 years.​
Fire Escape Plan
  • Make sure emergency exit windows and hatches are clearly marked and in good working order.
  • Make sure all occupants know where and how to operate escape windows.
  • Keep exit routes unobstructed.
  • If the smoke alarm sounds, get out and stay out. Call 911 from outside.​

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

Fire season requires an increased awareness of wildfire dangers. Your local fire agency takes every precaution to help protect you and your property from fire. During a large wildfire, there may not be enough fire engines or firefighters to defend every home.

Your local law enforcement agency orders evacuations. If you feel threatened by a wildfire, do not wait for an official evacuation order.

There are three levels of evacuation.

  • Level 1: “BE READY” for potential evacuation
    Residents should be aware of the danger that exists in their area and monitor emergency services websites and local media outlets for information. This is the time for preparation and precautionary movement of persons with special needs, mobile property, and (under certain circumstances) pets and livestock. If conditions worsen, emergency services personnel may contact you via an emergency notification system.

  • Level 2: “BE SET” to evacuate
    You should be ready to leave at a moment’s notice as this level indicates there is a significant danger to your area, and residents should either voluntarily relocate to a shelter or with family/friends outside of the affected area. Residents may have time to gather necessary items, but doing so is at their own risk.

  • Level 3: “GO” evacuate NOW – leave immediately
    Danger to your area is current or imminent, and you should evacuate immediately. If you choose to ignore this advisement, you must understand that emergency services may not be available to assist you further. Do not delay leaving to gather any belongings or make efforts to protect your home.

If you are advised to evacuate, take your emergency supply kit, lock your home, and choose a route away from the fire hazard. Watch for changes in the speed and direction of the fire and smoke. Tell someone when you left and where you are going.

Remember the eight Ps​ if an immediate evacuation is required: ​

  • People
  • Pets
  • Personal computer
  • Prescriptions
  • Paperwork (important documents)
  • Pictures
  • Phone (cell)
  • Plastic (credit/bank cards)

Oregon Evacuation Information
Oregon State Evacuation Levels Flyer
Oregon State Evacuation Levels Flyer- Spanish


Fire and Life Safety Education Hotline

Mailing Address:
Oregon State Fire Marshal
3991 Fairview Industrial Dr
Salem, OR 97302