SALEM - With the recent wildfires raging across parts of eastern Oregon, the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal and Oregon Department of Forestry are urging all homeowners to reassess the steps they need to take to help protect their home from wildfire.

"Conditions are hot and dry throughout the state," warns Oregon Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Jim Walker. "Homeowners, and the preventive actions they take, are the best defense against approaching wildfires. The most critical factor is for homeowners to remove or reduce flammable fuels within a 100-foot safety zone around their home."

"In the summers in eastern Oregon, lightning without significant rainfall is always a concern, says Oregon Department of Forestry Information Officer Rod Nichols. "Now is the time to take preventative steps before your home is threatened by fire."

Here are just a few of the preventative steps recommended by the OSFM and ODF.:

Steps to increase fire resistance in and around your home include:

* Removing the dead and dying material that accumulates around forest homes.

Cut out the dead branches or brush, clean the leaves and needles out of the gutters and off the roof.

* Pruning branches from the lower 10 feet of trees to remove "ladder fuels."

(Ladder fuels take a ground fire into the tops, or crowns, of trees.) Prune any branches that may be overhanging the home and/or chimneys.

* Planting fire-resistant landscapes. Most fire resistant plants can be found at your local nursery.

* Remove debris, firewood and other stored items from under decking and enclose decking with 1/8 inch screen mesh to keep out burning embers.

* Enclose eves, fascias, soffits, and sub floor vents using 1/8 inch or smaller non-corrosive metal mesh.

* Install metal, tile, concrete, or Class A rated fire resistant asphalt roofing.

* Cover exterior walls with fire resistant materials like stucco, stone, or brick. Vinyl siding can melt and is not recommended.

* Use double-paned or tempered glass for all exterior windows.

* Consider installing a residential fire sprinkler system.

You can find more online on the OSFM website and the Keep Oregon Green website and on the Firewise website at www.firewise.org.

© 2012 Seaside Signal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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