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Alarm Box: Don’t waste a free greenwaste disposal day

Fire season is right around the corner. Now is the time to put some sweat equity into your home and landscape to prepare for the upcoming season. You may be asking yourself how you are going to dispose of the leaves, needles and branches that you clear from your property. We have a solution for all Ashland residents!

Ashland’s Wildfire Mitigation Commission and Ashland Fire & Rescue (AF&R), in partnership with Recology Ashland, will host the seventh annual Firewise Clean-up Day on Saturday, May 5. From 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Ashland residents (with proper identification) will be able to dump yard debris at the Valley View Transfer Station for FREE! This service could not be successful without the generous partnership with Recology Ashland. Visit Ashland.or.us/cleanupday for more information.

So what can you do around your home and yard to get ready? Let’s break it down.

• Clean and clear all needles and leaves from your roof gutters. This is an area where embers can get trapped and should be void of flammable vegetation.

• Maintain a five-foot buffer area around the foundation of your home that is lean, clean and green. Ensure there is no bark mulch, dead leaves or needles!

• Cut trees and branches away from your home, creating a line of sight between the plant and the structure. Trim all conifer branches 10 feet from any structure and chimney. Deciduous trees should be trimmed 10 feet from the chimney. Just keep branches from touching your house.

• Remove all dead branches from mature shrubs and trees around your yard. Pay special attention to the lower part of the plant to reduce hazardous “ladder fuels.”

• Ensure the area underneath your deck is clear of combustible debris including leaves and needles, firewood, lumber and gas cans.

• Move your wood pile 30 feet from the house or to the farthest location on your lot.

The clean-up work outlined above is equally as important as being ready for the event itself. Ashland Fire & Rescue is dedicated to educating our residents about emergency preparedness. To help you in this process, the Ashland Is Ready (AIR) Emergency Preparedness Guide will be showing up in your mailbox in the next week. This is a comprehensive guide to being prepared for all disasters, not just wildfire. The 16-page booklet comes in a protective sleeve with a magnet so you can put it on your refrigerator and refer to it when needed. With the devastating wildfires in California last year, we want to make sure all residents are informed on how to prepare for an evacuation.

Some key takeaways from the booklet include:

• ”Opt-In” to Citizen Alert, Jackson County’s free notification service at Ashland.or.us/fire.

• Familiarize yourself with the Be Ready, Be Set, Go! evacuation program. This three-level evacuation program will be used when communicating the timing to evacuate your home.

• Tune your radios to the 1700AM Emergency Radio which is updated during fire season.

• For more information, visit Ashland.or.us/evacuation.

We appreciate all the work you are doing around your homes and neighborhoods to prepare for fire season. We are all in this together! Remember, when the disaster strikes, the time to prepare has passed. For more information visit ashlandfirewise.org.

— Alison Lerch is the Fire Adapted Communities Coordinator for Ashland Fire & Rescue. You can email her at Alison.lerch@ashland.or.us. The Alarm Box, a column with local public safety information, appears triweekly in the Tidings.