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Don't wait to abate

Despite the much-appreciated rains in June, including some very impressive thunderstorms, Ashland’s landscape will be very dry this summer, and we must continue to reduce our wildfire risks.

Tall grass and weeds have begun to cure and will dry out fast. This means greater fire risk and a higher potential for catastrophic fire. If you have not already done so, Ashland Fire & Rescue is requesting you take steps immediately to protect your property and our community from wildfire.

The longer you wait to reduce fire risks on your property, the greater the chances of starting an accidental fire in dry conditions. See www.ashland.or.us/weedabatement for useful information about requirements, answers to frequently asked questions, and information about protecting your home and community from wildfire.

Everyone has a role to play in reducing the risks of wildfire to our community. Please help us by doing your part to reduce the fire risks around your home, property and/or jobsite. Ashland requires landowners and tenants to cut grasses and weeds by June 15 each year and to keep them cut throughout the fire season.

Construction projects are required to keep weeds and grasses cut around the jobsite, as combustible lumber materials are present. This responsibility includes the sidewalks, easements and parking areas adjacent to your property and applies to all lots within city limits.

While preparing your property for fire season, we strongly recommend taking the additional steps of removing all flammable materials within five feet of your home or accessory structures. In addition to cutting weeds and grasses growing next to walls, wood fences or decks, we recommend moving things like fuel cans, cardboard boxes, stored firewood and other flammable materials.

Also be sure to remove dry debris such as leaves and pine needles that accumulate in rain gutters, under decks and along the base of walls. Do not place bark mulch within 5 feet of a structure. Instead, create a “fuel-free zone” using rockscape or bare soil. Flying embers from a wildfire can get trapped next to your house and put your home at risk. Keeping this area free of anything flammable could mean all the difference.

By each of us being responsible with our own property, we help keep our entire community fire safe.

The city of Ashland created enforceable laws for weed abatement and wildfire safety to promote and establish proven measures of fire safety for the protection of our community and our forest environment. Failure to cut weeds and grasses, and maintain the property throughout fire season, can result in fines. A weed abatement complaint form is available on our website.

Ashland is a wildland urban interface, a city of trees; we must be mindful of our risks. Please don’t wait to abate. Help us all have a safe fire season.

Brian Hendrix is the weed abatement coordinator for Ashland Fire & Rescue. Reach him at cutweeds@ashland.or.us or 541-552-2246.