The Oregon Wildland/Urban Human Fire Interface


How Fire Works

Wildlife-Wildfire Interface

Oregon's Vulnerability

Biscuit Fire

Urban-Wildfire Interface

Firefighting Techniques





Urban-Wildfire Interface


Homeowners are pushing city limits further and further into the forested areas of Oregon, causing many new problems and questions to arise.
Many communities are concerned over the safety of their homes, but also of the welfare of the environment. The choice between allowing natural fires burn or actively preventing them and immediately putting them out is a hard one, and have both positive and negative connotations concerning the health of citizens and the local wildlife.
Living in a high risk area for wildfires means both residences and government agencies must work together to find a balance between keeping people safe and allowing the environment to keep healthy.




  Source: Oregon Department of Forestry:


Risk Awareness

 The public must be informed about how fire works, where high risk areas for wildfire are and how to prorperly prepare and protect themselves if a wildfire should spread to their community.

The Oregon Department of Forestry defines an at risk community as “a geographic area within and surrounding permanent dwellings with basic infrastructure and services, under a common fire protection jurisdiction or government, for which there is a significant threat due to wildfire”



  Source: Oregon Department of Forestry

A map of risk areas in Oregon. Many larges cities such as Portland, Salem, Eugene and Ashland are located in the west where Oregon experiences a moderate to high risk of wildfire.


Preparation and Protection

Cities located in high risk areas for wildfires must have a well organized system of evacuating local citizens and coordinating their emergency personal. If a city's evacuation plan is not communicated effectively to all citizens or if the emergency personal are not well practiced, the city may come to a panicked grid locking halt when a wildfire consumes an urban area.

Souce: City of Ashland

The city of Ashland, located in southwestern Oregon has a city wide evacuation plan and evacuation route signs along the roads to remove citizens from danger as quikley and safely as possible.

Firewise is a national multi-agency program designed to educate communities and homeowners about the dangers of wildfires and what they can do to protect their homes and lives yet maintain the natural environment and its beauty. Below are tips from the organization on how to build a home that minimizes the risk of damage via wildfire.

Source: Firewise







As urban areas push more and more into the wild areas in Oregon, they become more prone to wildfires. There is much debate with in many communities about how wildfires should or should not be managed, how homeowners should protect themselves, and who pays for damages to properties after a wildfire passes through an urban area.