This course is designed to prepare farmers, ranchers and rural residents for wildfires. You will cover wildfire risk awareness, emergency response and prevention planning, and creating defensible space.
Over the course of seven modules, you will learn how to create an emergency farm plan for your land. This farm plan will provide prevention steps you can take with your equipment and vegetation in order to help mitigate wildfires. You will also cover creating defensible space and fuel breaks in agricultural areas.
The wildfire plans discussed in this course will allow you to meet new Oregon OSHA requirements for suppressing wildfires in crops and rangelands. These requirements stipulate that farmers and ranchers must have a documented emergency action plan for their farm, along with a firefighting action plan and fire prevention plan. This course provides an overview of these new requirements in Oregon and gives you templates for written plans.
Rural residents and agricultural operations without employees will still benefit from completing this course. Creating emergency plans now will increase preparedness for the unexpected in the future. This course will enable you to take tangible steps on the ground to reduce the risk of wildfire to you, your family and employees, and your farm.
After completing this self-paced class, you should be able to:
It is worth taking steps now to be reduce the financial, human, and potential legal risks of wildfire to you and those you care about. A study in Florida estimated that every dollar spent on wildfire prevention saves $35 in suppression costs down the road.
Did you know that populated areas in both rural and urban areas of Oregon have a greater likelihood of fires occurring than 64% of states across the U.S.?
Over the last 27 years more than 60% of wildfire starts originated on private property, and 28% ignited on national forests. Most of the fires started due to human activity with 89% of wildfires in 2018 started by humans across the U.S.
26% of human caused wildfires in Oregon in 2020 were started from debris burning and 23% started from equipment use. However, the majority of acreage burned was from unknown human activity at 99% compared to equipment use only generating 0.15% of total acreage burned. Given all these human ignitions it is important to have emergency plans in place and consider ways you can improve fire prevention on your own property and equipment to ensure you don’t add to human ignitions.
Some things to consider include:
This material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2018-70027-28587.
Jacob Powell is a General Agricultural Extension Agent with Oregon State University based in Wasco and Sherman Counties in north central Oregon. He has five years of experience with the Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, and the Center for Natural Lands Management with fire suppression and prescribed burning across a diversity of ecosystems. In addition, Jacob has fire teaching experience as a Teaching Assistant for fire management courses at the University of Montana. He has a M.S. degree in Resource Conservation from the University of Montana where he studied the feedbacks of the fire grazing interaction in the Northern Great Plains.