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BEND, OR -- We’re about a month away from the typical start of wildfire season. And, Deschutes County Emergency Manager Nathan Garibay says now is the time to work on creating defensible space. "Make sure that your home is prepared, that your family is prepared. And, I think before the fires come, that’s when you need to be thinking about it, you need to be doing things around your home and getting ready. When there’s smoke in the air, it’s probably too late. That’s just the unfortunate reality."

Garibay tells KBND News preparing isn't difficult, but takes time. "Making sure there is defensible space around your home; ensuring that your home is prepared by having, preferably, non-combustible building materials; making sure that the pine needles and debris from the trees that blew all winter and have fallen on your roof and gotten in your gutters, are clear; that the landscaping around your home is cleaned up so that fire brands can’t get in there and start a fire next to your home." And, Garibay says creating 30-feet of defensible space can not only prevent a spark from turning into a full-blown wildfire, "It also gives firefighters a chance. If there is no defensible space and there are several other homes to protect, and they have limited resources, they may not be able to even try to save your home. So, you want to do what you can to help those firefighters when they are in your neighborhood trying to save your home."
He says it’s also time to revisit general emergency preparedness with your family and make sure you’re familiar with the "Ready," "Set" and "Go" evacuation levels. Click HERE to learn more about each level.
Central Oregon’s three counties recently partnered with Everbridge to launch a new emergency alert system. Garibay encourages residents to sign up for the free service, to receive evacuation alerts. Deschutes County residents can sign up HERE. Jefferson County residents, click HERE to register. And, Crook County residents sign up HERE
To hear more of our conversation with Deschutes County Emergency Manager Nathan Garibay, visit our Podcast Page

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