This past year proved to be diverse, productive, and inspiring. Before we leap into Project Wildfire’s 15th year, 2019, Project Wildfire would like to take this time to reflect on all the successes from 2018 throughout Deschutes County. Below you’ll find a few of the highlights from the past year.  A big thank you goes out to all of our partners for their continued commitment in making all of our work a reality.

Community Wildfire Protection

Project Wildfire in cooperation with Deschutes County is working on fuels reduction projects summarized in three separate grant proposals. Through these funding opportunities, Project Wildfire implemented 13 projects within multiple areas in Deschutes County treating a total of 485 acres. Many of these projects occurred in the Joint Chief’s Landscape in the La Pine Basin. Work and planning is still ongoing on an additional 4 projects in South Deschutes County that will be complete by 2019’s fire season. In the planning arena, Project Wildfire coordinated the update and revision of two Community Wildfire Protection Plans; The East & West CWPP and the Upper Deschutes River CWPP. With the assistance of the local community members, Project Wildfire also developed outreach magazine as an educational tool for their CWPPs.  


This year FireFree had sustained partnerships and success that led to 9 different events in the 4 county region. We saw a continuation of the events in Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson, and Klamath Counties again this year. After the spring events in all four counties were complete residents had delivered a total of 30,635 cubic yards. And in the fall residents brought in 14,330 cubic yards trying to get a jump on fire season in 2019. FireFree events in 2018 resulted in a total of 44,965 cubic yards collected. In addition to the dedicated residents that participated in FireFree, Project Wildfire would like to thank our partners at Deschutes Recycling and Deschutes County Solid Waste for making these events a success.

Wildfires and Lessons Learned

The fire season in Central Oregon gave us a run for our money this year. There were multiple teachable moments and success stories borne out of this fire season. A fire outside Cloverdale reminded us all how quickly a small fire in wrong place can have immediate impacts on our community. The residents who lost their homes and/or out buildings are still constantly in our thoughts and will continue to be an inspiration to work harder to get the message out.

With smoke visiting Central Oregon from wildfires throughout the State and West, there were constant conversations about how we can prepare not just our homes and yards, but our families for smoke impacts. In living somewhere where fire is a reality, the recognition that smoke comes with those incidents is more and more apparent. Now is time for the partners of Project Wildfire to help the community have conversations about what living with smoke and wildfire looks like. Treating smoke preparation the same way we treat defensible space and evacuation will need to be a focus in the future.  

Education, Outreach and Learning

Project Wildfire participated in many educational opportunities in 2018. Project Wildfire was present at the Home and Garden Show, Wildland Urban Interface Conference in Reno, and Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network Workshop in Washington. Many presentations were given to communities throughout the County on FireFree and Firewise principles. With the help of Oregon Department of Forestry and local Fire Departments, Project Wildfire hosted multiple small defensible space trainings for Firewise Committees. With the help of local Fire Districts and Oregon Department of Forestry we have added two new Firewise Communities in Deschutes County. The total count in Deschutes County is now at 25.

After participating in efforts in the Joint Chief’s landscape, Project Wildfire and Discover Your Forest have been working on educational programs for middle and high school aged students. The topics focus on defensible space, evacuation route mapping, fire ecology, and forest health. Through this new partnership, Project Wildfire is able to pass the educational message on to local youth, who in turn take that information home to their families.   

Also with the help of Project Wildfire’s partners, Central Oregon hosted 3 Era of Megafires presentations in Sisters, Sunriver, and Bend. These events brought in approximately 875 residents from the Central Oregon area. The presentation focuses on Fire Adapted Communities and creating resilient landscapes in easily accessible information for those that live in a community that is impacted by wildfire.

Check Out The New Website!

In collaboration with the local state and federal fire agencies, public health, Department of Environmental Quality, and Deschutes County there is now a new site that focuses on key messages around prescribed fire, smoke, and health strategies for residents. All of these topics intertwine with one another and this site is designed to be a one stop shop for residents looking for information on smoke and health.

The Year Ahead

Project Wildfire is looking forward to 2019 and the new projects and partnerships the New Year promises. We are hoping to accomplish fuel treatment in neighborhoods identified in Southern Deschutes County. The Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network continues to pay dividends by allowing us to bring best practices home from a network that is tackling the same topics. Project Wildfire’s business model is now being applied to other areas throughout the West, we couldn’t be happier to be on the forefront of tackling the wildland fire issues that concern us all. Project Wildfire is able to highlight the great things happening here in Deschutes County thanks to all our partners. See you all next year!