Co-chair, Oracle Firewise Board
Entering the earliest and, potentially, the most severe fire season in a decade, Oracle residents have a new helping hand—their Firewise Community Assessors.
Twelve members of the Oracle Firewise and Community Emergency Response Team boards just completed an intensive, hands-on, two-day Firewise Assessor workshop conducted by Carrie Dennett, Sate Firewise Coordinator for the Arizona State Forestry Division.
The purpose of the assessor workshop was to provide community volunteers with the most up-to-date information and methods available for evaluating a home’s survivability in the face of a wildfire as well as a survey of easy improvements homeowners can make to better protect their properties from the ravages of wildfires.
Topics covered in the 2-day course included wildfire behavior, topography, structure building materials, design and fire risk, fire department access, vegetation control and creation of defensible space around homes and out-buildings and a review of case studies of recent forest fires and their effects on specific homes in the West. The second day of the course was spent in the field, applying the knowledge grained in the classroom to the evaluation of Oracle homes located along the town’s National Forest boundary as well as making recommendations to those homeowners for minimizing risks posed by wildfires.
One of the most surprising topics discussed during the course was the extreme danger posed by burning embers that can be airborne for miles from an existing wildfire before landing on roofs and collecting in attic vents and under porches where they can easily ignite the exterior and interior of a home. In many cases studied, airborne embers proved to be a greater threat than fire flames themselves.
Graduating from the assessor course were Judy Sparkman, Amelia Olson, Mike Snyder, Rachel and Michael Opinsky, Doug Johnson, Mary and David Harris, Collins Cochran, Barbara and Bernie Hass and Holt Bodinson.
Firewise assessments are an ongoing program in Oracle. If you would like an assessment team to work with you to better prepare your property against wildland fires, please contact the Oracle Fire Department.