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Fire Safety

Prescribed Fire

Prescribed fire is vital in protecting our community by reducing fuels that would pose a threat during wildfire season. Prescribed fire allows for removal of fuel when conditions are favorable for smoke dissipation. When prescribed fires are planned near town, people who are sensitive to smoke should be aware of ways to stay safe from the smoke that comes from planned burning. While Forest Service staff carefully monitor and plan burns to minimize smoke, it is not possible to completely prevent smoke from entering community air.

+ Tips to minimize health impacts from smoke

  • Reduce time spent outdoors when smoke is present.

  • Close windows and doors.

  • Use an indoor high-efficiency air filter (HEPA) or electrostatic precipitator in your home to help create one or more rooms with cleaner air to breathe.

  • Set your A/C or heating unit to recycle or recirculate when at home or in your car.

  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water.

  • Reduce other sources of indoor smoke and dust, including: burning cigarettes, candles, gas or propane ranges, wood burning stoves and furnaces, and vacuuming.

  • Reduce the time you engage in vigorous outdoor activity.

  • If you have heart or lung disease or respiratory illnesses such as asthma, follow your health care provider's advice about prevention and treatment of symptoms.

  • Consider maximizing time in air-conditioned homes or buildings during smoky periods or visit public, air-conditioned places such as libraries, community centers, senior centers, restaurants, and retailers for relief from smoke.


Over the past decade, an average of over 550,000 acres have burned each year due to wildfires in Oregon. In 2020, approximately 1.3 million acres burned.  Oakridge has a long history of wildfires near the community. While the forests that surround Oakridge are considered “wet” they include  fire adapted ecosystems that historically burned more frequently. As fire seasons become longer, the Oakridge-Westfir area and the upper Willamette watershed will continue to see an increased risk of wildfires that threaten homes and communities. 


Fortunately, there are ways to live with fire that reduce risks to human health and property, such as Firewise.

Yard Debris

Backyard burning can create a toxic smoke hazard and cause eye and lung irritation. Because Oakridge is vulnerable to smoke, backyard burning is only allowed during certain months of the year and when other factors are not limiting air quality. To help residents safely remove debris without creating fire and smoke hazards, the City of Oakridge restarted a chipper program in 2020.


The City of Oakridge operates a dropoff site for yard debris that is accessible from the Oakridge Industrial Park. You can bring your yard waste on the first Saturday of every month from 12-4 pm. An annual permit for dropoff costs $15 and can be purchased at City Hall. The permit helps pay for the equipment used to process the debris into chips. Learn more and download the permit application here.

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