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Community Engages in Wildfire Prevention Forum

Community members and fire safety officials gathered to talk about fire prevention on Thursday night.

Posted: Jan. 17, 2019 11:39 PM
Updated: Jan. 18, 2019 8:55 AM

MEDFORD, Ore -- Community members and fire safety officials gathered to talk about fire prevention on Thursday night. 

Around 200 people attended the wildfire prevention forum at the Smullin Health Education Center, which is at the Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center. 

Fire officials from several local counties went on stage to talk with the community about how to avoid another brutal wildfire season. One of those leaders was Dave Lorenz. He is the Southern Oregon director in the Oregon Department of Forestry.

"I think education is foundational to keeping communities safe. So, the more citizens can know about fires and about things that they can do the better that is. To have that many people show up in the middle of Winter is a good thing," said Lorenz. 

Each person had the opportunity to take home a booklet and two documents that gave tips on how to prevent wildfires. They also provided information on how to keep your home safe in the event of a nearby wildfire. 

According to the Oregon Department of Forestry, people are responsible for 70 percent of wildfires in Oregon. 

One of the main topics is burn piles. Burn piles are prohibited in many areas during fire season. Burn piles can easily get out of control and cause serious damage during any part of the year. 

Also, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry, 64 percent of wildfires take place within one mile of the forestland-urban interface. This is where communities border Oregon's forests and rangelands. 

How wildfires impact local economies was also up for discussion. For example, Ashland has a heavy tourism community. The smoke from the wildfires makes it difficult for people to stay in the area. 

Sara Jones, the Community Engagement Coordinator for the Ashland Forest Resiliency was proud of how many people were getting involved in the meeting. 

"I think that we are all working together as a community to improve the forests and the outcomes from that. That will take a public investment. I think we are all working on that together long term. That kind of investment is going to be something that will reduce that smoke," said Jones.

The Oregon Department of Forestry would like to remind you to do your part by acting responsibly, and always remember that one less spark means one less wildfire.

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