Time to start thinking 'Firewise'

REEDSPORT, Ore. -- With the lack of rain, fire officlas in Coos and Douglas counties are expecting an earlier fire season than usual.

Brush and ladder fuels can carry a wildfire straight to your home.

Fire officials say without clearing them, the chances of your house surviving a fire are slim.

John Flannigan from the Coos Forest Protective Association says clearing the area around your home can be key in saving it. "The whole goal is that if a fire comes, that it gets down into the ground and the firefighters can take care of it," he said.

'Firewise Communities USA' is a national program that's already started in Douglas County, and could soon be headed to the South Coast.

John Olinghouse, the Douglas County Firewise coordinator, says they can help with homeowners getting the area cleaned up. "We will take away the hazardous vegetation, limb up the trees and create those fuel breaks up to 200 feet."

But you don't have to be a part of the program to be 'Firewise.'

With an earlier fire season expected, officals say right now is the perfect time to create a defensible space.

They say you should space your plants and keep your lawns fresh, along with clearing the area around your home.

As for wood debris, it's best to chip it officials said. If you have to burn it, make sure to keep an eye on the pile.

Fire risk assessments are free to the public.