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Fire District 3 offers free pickup for brush-clearing work

So you’ve cleared flammable vegetation from around your home to create a defensive barrier against wildfires. What do you do with the resulting pile of brush, branches, leaves, etc.?

If you live in Jackson County Fire District No. 3’s coverage area — which includes 54,000 residents who live in the communities of White City, Central Point, Eagle Point, Sams Valley, Gold Hill, Agate Lake and Dodge Bridge — you can borrow a trailer from the agency, and District 3 will haul it away after you’ve loaded it up.

If the fire district has performed a wildland fuels assessment on a home to make sure the three zones around the structure are adequately cleared, the homeowner can utilize the department’s 6-by-10-foot trailer to load up landscape debris, and district officials will take it away for free.

The program kicked off last week. Depending on the home’s location within the district, some of the work that needs to be done might still be banned due to fire season restrictions.

“But at least (residents) will have the list of what needs to be done,” said Fire District No. 3 public information officer Ashley Blakely.

Similar programs are available across the U.S., Blakely added.

“I think because we have community risk reductions on our mind so heavily right now, especially with the past fire seasons, that we want to try to continue providing programs and education for our residents to make it easier on them.”

Satisfactory defensible space around a home consists of three zones that act as buffers. The first zone starts at the home and goes out 5 feet. Zone 2 travels from the 5-foot mark out to 30 feet, and zone 3 goes from 30 feet to 100 feet out.

The initial zone should be “as lean, clean and green as possible,” Blakely said.

“Really nothing flammable within that area at all,” she added. “Rockscape or mineral soil really is preferable in that area.”

Zone 2 should see any grass mowed to under four inches, and trees shoulb be limbed and spaced accordingly. Vegetation should also be cleared away from propane tanks, and fuel breaks should be cleared on driveways and walking paths so emergency responders can have easier access to the property in case of a fire.

In zone 3, heavy accumulations of tree limbs, branches, pine needles and leaves should be cleared from the ground and away from outbuildings.

“Spacing’s a pretty big deal once you get out into a larger area,” Blakely said, adding trees 30 to 60 feet from the house should have at least 12 feet between each canopy.

Call 541-826-7100 to schedule a wildland home assessment or for more information.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4468.

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