Firewise Community Effort June 2022

90° and Windy Weather! It’s time to get serious about preparations for wildfires within our neighborhoods this summer.

Labor Day Fires, 2020 (Do you see the glowing core of hot stuff??)

With our treasured greenspaces like River View Natural Area, Marshall Park, Tryon Creek State Natural Area, and our contiguous tree canopy, we definitely need to be proactive in protecting them and our homes BEFORE the incoming — what promises to be a "grim" — fire season.

Thinking about the welfare of our homes and neighborhoods, this article shares resources available via Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R), arranged by level of commitment that we would like to see:

This article explores these possibilities. Let's all keep at it on all levels. Think in terms of a Marathon, not a sprint.

For Transparency - Collins View’s participation in the PF&R Firewise Program is being facilitated by the Friends of River View Natural Area.

Firewise is not related to NETs (Neighborhood Emergency Teams)

The Firewise program is not associated with NETs — Please don't confuse the two programs.

Collins View, Marshall Park, and Riverdale NET teams work closely together. They have a lot on their plates. Read all about [Collins View NET] but please come back here. Join NET if you can, but we also need people to step up for FireWise, to have assessments done and participate in a Community as described in this article.

NET members care about the safety of their community, and so they may also participate in a Firewise Community, but with separate roles and responsibilities.

Wildland Urban Interface - The Setting

We are fortunate to have 773 acres of forested lands surrounding our neighborhoods including 147 acres of River View Natural Area wild lands, 26 acres of Marshall Park, and 600 acres of Tryon Creek State Park.

By the Numbers

In addition, within the 557 acre Collins View Neighborhood, alone, there are 200 acres of combined forest and woodland, 77 acres in the environmental conservation zone and 42 acres in the environmental protection zone for a total after remapping of 119 acres. (Figures from Daniel Soebbing, Planner, City of Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability). So, surrounded by 773 acres of forested acreage, 317 acres or 57% of Collins View is woodland/conservation zones, compared to the 240 acres of Collins View’s 557 acres of “developed” (built-upon) acres.

We are truly at the “Wildland Urban Interface.” (WUI). And happy to be here. BUT it comes with responsibilities. We are communities at risk for WUI fires. We can prepare for and mitigate these risks.  Source: National Association of State Foresters PDF

Along a trail in 147-acre River View Natural Area. Photo: J Miller

Notes from Kim Kosmas's Presentation

On June 21, 2022 Kim Kosmas, of the PF&R Safety Training Group, led a Zoom session covering most of the information in this blog article.

These notes contributed by Ralph Cohen, Marshall Park NET Assistant Team Lead, who attended the 6/21/2022 Zoom meeting. (Augmented by a slide captured by J Miller.)

Helpful Slide: How Does 'Firewise' Benefit me?

You can assess your own property - NOW!

Do a Self Assessment to identify things you can do around your home and on your property, and then take action, as time permits.

Three zones around a home. Your home may not have Zone 3.

Individuals can “harden” their residence working in 3 zones around their house. Some suggestions include:

Specific recommendations for each zone are provided during a free assessment, see below. We will have a checklist for self-assessment here ASAP, before June 30.

Other Action Items

Cover Crawl space and attic eave vents with ⅛” x ⅛” mesh (soffit screen) to keep embers from entering your house.

Don’t dump and pile leaves in yard or Environmental Protection Zones. (Put them in your Yard Debris for pickup, or do a good job of scattering the leaves.)

Consider this list of fire resistive plants [PDF]

You should get a free, comprehensive, expert assessment - SOON!

Sign Up! It's Free, There is no legal obligation for the owner to remedy situations. It is an assessment of your exposure to wildfire.

Residents are able to have their properties assessed by PF&R Personnel for fire hazards and suggested mitigation. (We are working on a check list based on the assessment form for your reference. 6/26/22 -ed.)

Please consider signing up for the PF&R FREE Firewise Assessment via this [LINK].

On the above page, find the WUI assessment link to 'Schedule free wild land – urban interface assessment at your home'. (Or just use this Direct link to the [Sign-Up Form])

It is a very short, non-intrusive registration. The assessment requires about 45 minutes. About TWO week lead time; assessment takes about an hour. Please encourage your neighbors to sign up as well.

What is wrong in this picture? Hint: Something in the Valley.
What is wrong in this July 2021 picture? (Since Remedied, but back in 2022?)

Once you have the assessment, you'll want to act on it. Think of it as a Marathon, not a sprint.

We can form and grow a Firewise Community - ON GOING!

In addition to individual action, groups of 8 or more can create a Firewise Community Program.  PF&R will assist with assessments and developing an action plan to make the community safer against wild fires.  Requires only 1 hour per year volunteer time per home in the group.  There are a number of Firewise Community Programs in Portland.  See References below.

Our crazy streets, shared safety interests, concerns, and geography integrate us despite arbitrary neighborhood boundaries.

It seems like all cemeteries, and Parks (RVNA), State Parks (Tryon Creek), The college, and our business district should be part of our Firewise Community.

Initially, a larger area was thought possible (orange oval), but in Fall 2022, the decision was make to limit the Firewise Community to Collins View itself. (Red oval)

Probable extent of a Collins View Firewise Community


Firewise programs require a Firewise Community to have atleast 8 members. The program involves promoting assessments and developing a community plan to make fire safety improvements.

Having facilitating organizations, like “Friends of River View Natural Area”, "Friends of Tryon", and so on, that span neighborhood boundaries is an advantage to cooperation and effectiveness. Perhaps these organizations could designate FW Community board members?

((Other aspects to mention here: Education. Cite some possible COMMON GOALs. Possibility of getting Grants. -Ed.))


In the event of Urban Wildfire, is there an Evacuation Route?? Response: Not very feasible because there are so many ways a fire could unfold. Rest assured, First Responders will be in site, directing traffic. (They may have large-scale regional refugee camps set up.)

A general suggestion is to Depart at Level 2, and not wait for Level 3! This is because in our area, there are limited number of evacuation routes- Macadem? Boones Ferry? Borbur? I-5 would likely be jammed in an emergency. Another problem is, which direction to head, and where are you going to relocate??

What other related issues are there?


Editor's Note

What about a Tree/Yard Service (company) that understands how to mitigate fire dangers??

Thanks to Contributors: Ralph Cohen, Maryellen Read. Editor: J Miller

Questions for Our Readers

Feel free to answer these questions on Nextdoor, in the comments following our post there.

Comments submitted on this article

Comments will appear here — To be curated from Nextdoor, then posted a week or so after article is published. (At this time, we don't support commenting directly on the blog.)

Bill says: We got our assessment and it provided us with valuable information about how to protect our home, family and surroundings. The staff are talented and helpful. Well worth the time.

Kari says: Thanks very much. I was looking for this sort of information. We just had a brush fire due to a downed power line. Scary in this heat.

No Comment.

How this Blog Post should be (was) described on Nextdoor

The oven door has opened and Fire Season is upon us! Please click for a full range of "FireWise" actions that mitigate the risks of wildfire in our community and to your property... Ready Set Go!

Hard to choose a Graphic to use in future ND posts. Ideas?