BEND, OR -- The US Forest Service has released a list of the 'Top 100 Communities in the Pacific Northwest' that they believe have the highest risk of being destroyed by wild land fire. Bend Fire Battalion Fire Chief Dave Howe says the communities ranked have an outsized risk of fire because they are built among trees. "They base this ranking on the probability of burning in any specific community and the number of houses that are exposed to fire."
Howe says Bend was ranked at #8, and he says it's because we have over 40,000 housing units that are in a wild land danger zone. "People move here because they want to live in the trees, and so it's not like a very urban environment like Portland or Eugene." And, he says, it's just part of living in Central Oregon. "We live in what we call a 'fire regime,' which means that fire, basically, defines the ecosystem. It always has."
According to Howe, there's certainly risk of fire here, but we don't have the same worries as California does. "We don't get the same confluence of weather events at the same time, at least we don't now. As the climate continues to modify itself, we don't know. It could turn that way. We are clearly seeing more intense fires, and more frequent fires, more damaging fires in the Northwest."
To learn more about ways to reduce your home or neighborhood's risk of wild land fire, visit the Bend Fire District website for tips.