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Common Fire Terms

Common Fire Terms & Definitions

There is some frequently used fire terminology in Central Oregon and nationally. If all of these fire words have you feeling a little overwhelmed, we have the terms and their definitions below for you.

Oregon's Defensible Space Law

The Oregon Forestland-Urban Interface Fire Protection Act, often referred to as Senate Bill 360, enlists the aid of property owners toward the goal of turning fire-vulnerable urban and suburban properties into less-volatile zones where firefighters may more safely and effectively defend homes from wildfires. Visit Oregon Department of Forestry, Fire Protection in the Wildland Urban Interface for more information.  Visit Senate Bill 360 for the full text.


A local event planned by Project Wildfire to provide an easy and cost effective way for homeowners to dispose of their yard debris created by preparing for fire season.


National recognition program that allows for a process to empower neighbors to work together in reducing their wildfire risk. For more information on Firewise visit Firewise.org.

Fire Adapted Communities (FAC)

A fire adapted community acknowledges and takes responsibility for its wildfire risk, and implements appropriate actions at all levels. Actions address resident safety, homes, neighborhoods, businesses and infrastructure, forests, parks, open spaces and other community assets. Every community has a unique set of circumstances and capacities, so the kinds of actions they take will vary. Further, there is no end-point in becoming a fire adapted community. Sustaining, growing and adapting strategies, partnerships, and capacity through time are key. Visit Fire Adapted Communities for more information. 

Wildland Fire Terms, VLAT, NWCG, etc.

For a full list of wildland fire terms and definitions visit Fire Term Glossary.

Red Flag Warning

Critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.

Fire Weather Watch

Critical fire weather conditions are forecasted to occur in the next 72 hours. Listen to later forecasts and possible Red Flag Warnings.