One of the biggest benefits to living in Central Oregon is its proximity to nature. Walk outside and see a forest, head to the middle of town to enjoy the river, or drive several miles and reach a mountain or a lake. It’s one of the main reasons for the population boom Central Oregon has been experiencing the last couple of decades.
Bend, as many cities in Central Oregon are, is surrounded by the Wildland Urban Interface, WUI, which is the transition zone between human development and local wildlands. This area is becoming increasingly popular as Bend continues to rapidly grow, as it lends itself to an almost-outdoor-living experience. Yet natural disasters, wildfires in particular, continue to spread and are made more dangerous with the introduction of housing in the WUI. Real estate developers should make an effort to mitigate this danger, and we at Brooks Resources have strived to be a leader in taking these steps.
During the development of The Tree Farm, we worked to create a community that was both immersed in nature yet fire resilient. We applied the transect concept to achieve these goals. The idea is that as development moves toward a hard boundary, like a forest, the buildings will become less and less dense, which helps prevent structure-to-structure fire ignition.
In 2019, the City of Bend officially adopted the Westside Transect Zone, which has been the starting point for many of the neighborhoods within the Transect to apply Firewise and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards to make them more fire resilient. For many homeowners, this means having a 5’ landscape zone around the home without any combustible materials, another 30’ landscape zone of pre-approved fire-resistant plants and maintaining clear gutters free of debris and flammable materials.
Although developers can play a role in keeping our homes safe from wildfires, it is also a community-wide effort. By making conscious fire-safe choices, we can all mitigate the danger that wildfires have on this beautiful place we call home.
If you’d like to learn more about Brooks Resources’ efforts in mitigating fire danger in Central Oregon, check out recent University of Oregon graduate Noah Camuso’s podcast, The Fire Story. Brooks Resources employees Kirk Schueler and Romy Mortensen join Noah on his episode “Building for Fire” to discuss the role developers have in working with local environmental groups and the community, as well as the steps that were taken to bridge new gaps between current fire mitigation tactics and proposed WUI housing.
Written by Hannah Clawson, Marketing Intern | Summer of 2022