Neighborhoods can help reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires igniting the metro area. Former Fire Chief and current city council member, Randy Groves.
Randy Groves: [00:00:11] I know through past experience that we do a pretty good job between (Eugene Springfield) Fire, Parks and Open Space, and ODF and the (Northwest) Youth Corps of getting in and cleaning up public lands and mitigating the fire risk there.
We have much less success in private property and almost by accident, we learned a number of years ago through the “No Fire In My Back Yard” campaign here locally, that the best way is neighbor to neighbor. And that’s exactly what is being set up with the Eugene Wildfire Coalition. They have a different level of connectedness with people that they know and are familiar with. And the coalition is broad-base d, across all of our areas at risk. There are people from the neighborhood leaders in different associations that banded together.
I actually think they are our answer to some of the problems with private property. That’s one of the reasons I was so excited when I saw them form up.
John Q: [00:01:06] Deputy Fire Marshal Mark Dahl.
Mark Dahl: [00:01:09] the Eugene Wildfire Preparedness Coalition, it really is a, it’s a rich example of community based grassroots efforts, dedicated to wildfire preparedness. Some past activities really included a very purposed and broad range of communications. Its present activities are really focused on acquiring grants funding to support wildfire preparedness and evacuation planning, future activities.
John Q: [00:01:36] Tabletop evacuation exercises will be based on the Fire Department’s latest evacuation zone map. The new map will come out in June.
Mark Dahl: [00:01:46] Eugene Springfield Fire in collaboration with emergency management offices from Lane County, the City of Eugene and the City of Springfield are currently underway to reassess and revise our evacuation zone plans. This project will help clarify zones and routes used by emergency services and the public. This is expected to be completed by June 1st of this year, 2021.
John Q: [00:02:14] Fire Captain Wayne Morris.
Wayne Morris: [00:02:16] This is the evacuation zones that will be coming out in the near future. This came out of ‘lessons learned’ from the Paradise fire you guys probably remember from California. What this does is allows for instant communication of an area for evacuation. Not only for the Incident Commander that’s coming in that has to do a quick attack and also begin evacuations, but this allows the community members, law enforcement, 911 all to be on the same page about where we’re going to evacuate and when.
The maps that you see here GIS did a lot of hard work in putting these together. They are based off of geographic areas and topography to make for the easiest evacuation of those areas in the community. We have a map for Eugene and Springfield as well, and then a large map for Eugene and Springfield together. It also has assembly points centrally located for people to respond to.
You’ll see this coming out to mid June. The maps are finished at this time, there will also be an interactive website for community members to get to and you will see more on this in the future.
John Q: [00:03:26] In addition to their evacuation exercises, the neighborhood groups hope to set up a new program to reduce wildfire risks in western cities. Mark Dahl.
Mark Dahl: [00:03:38] This coalition will work to fund and hire a Fire Adaptive Community Coordinator.
John Q: [00:03:46] Friendly Area Neighbors board member Tom Peck, speaking for the NLC.
Tom Peck: [00:03:51] I have two quick proposals real quick: (1) that Eugene consider hiring a Fire Adaptive Community Coordinator. There is one in Ashland, Oregon, and I’m taking a course with them and (2) the other is a Citizen’s Wildfire Risk Assessment Program. So I’m in the program, they’re training citizens to go out to the community. This is a very low cost program to do assessments and advise homeowners on what they could do to mitigate the risk of wildfire.
John Q: [00:04:31] To learn more about preparedness efforts, contact your neighborhood association. Or email Eug.Fire.Prep.Coalition@gmail.com.