After a year of program development and volunteer training, Ashland Fire & Rescue and the City of Ashland Wildfire Safety Commission are offering a new service to Ashland residents, the Wildfire Risk Assessment Program, or WRAP.
Volunteers are ready to help residents improve the fire resistance of their homes. In response to your invitation, they will meet with you on your property and discuss how your wildfire vulnerabilities can be addressed.
They can also help answer questions about evacuation preparedness and the specific risks posed by flammable plants in your landscape.
The Almeda fire in 2020 dispelled any doubt about Ashland’s vulnerability to the destructive effects of extreme wildfires. The December 2021 Marshall Fire in Superior, Colorado showed that a wildfire can strike at any time. We can and simply must do more at Ashland to create a fire-safe community.
Ashland’s Forest Fire Safety Commissioner, Dan Dawson, summed up, “It is the individual responsibility of each Ashland resident to reduce the risk of wildfire on their property. This program provides them with the detailed information they need to effectively reduce this risk. We hope that over time, this will lead to a dramatic reduction in community-wide wildfire risk and the creation of a resilient, fire-ready community.
For many years, Ashland residents have been able to request a free wildfire risk assessment from Ashland Fire & Rescue. Trained AF&R staff would spend time working with a resident on their property to discuss vulnerabilities and recommend proven remedies to reduce wildfire risk.
A written summary of findings and recommendations was also provided, which could be used to further develop actionable items to reduce wildfire risk on their property.
Unfortunately, in recent years, while the ability of AF&R staff to perform these important assessments has diminished, the demand for wildfire risk assessments continues to grow significantly.
The Ashland Wildfire Safety Commission has recognized the need to dramatically increase the number of individual home risk assessments each year, in order to quickly motivate as many people as possible to make their homes and landscapes fire resistant. It’s all part of our fire department’s continued development of a fire-ready Ashland.
WSC members worked with AF&R to design the WRAP and recruited community volunteers for training and certification. The Citizen Fire Academy at Oregon State University Extension provided the foundation for a six-module online training course with additional one-on-one training in the field by certified AF&R mitigation specialists. Seven volunteers were certified in September 2021 and have already completed more than 50 residential wildfire risk assessments in their first three months of service.
Wrap your home and family in wildfire preparedness; request an in-home risk assessment today. Go to fireadaptedashland.org and select “Request a Wildfire Risk Assessment” or call 541-552-2231. A volunteer will contact you for programming.