March 2019
Published by the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal
Wildfire preparedness starts now
M any people have built homes in the wildland urban interface and landscaped without fully understanding the impact a fire may have on their lives.  

While first responders would like to successfully suppress every wildfire without the fires negatively impacting people, homes, and communities, the reality is the number of fires and the speed in which they travel may be more severe than available firefighting resources can handle.

It’s times like these that every citizen needs to be prepared to stay safe and execute a timely means of evacuation for themselves, family, neighbors, and pets when wildfires threaten their area. Your life and safety depends on preparing now, practicing soon, and being ready to communicate and execute your plan during an emergenc y. 

The fire season is becoming a year-round reality, requiring firefighters and residents to be ready for the threat of wildland fire.  Successfully preparing for a wildland fire enables you to take personal responsibility for protecting yourself, your family, and your property.

You and the members of your community can take simple steps to increase your wildland fire preparedness. Your knowledge and actions may empower others to follow your lead, increasing their safety, and potentially decreasing property loss and damage. Being prepared for a wildland fire event is crucial, as responder resources can be spread thin. Taking advanced personal action can result in improved safety for all involved.

Wildfire safety begins in our communities. Successful preparation will require residents to take personal responsibility by following these steps from the IAFC Ready, Set, Go! Program . The program helps residents be Ready with preparedness understanding, be Set with situational awareness when fire threatens, and to Go , acting early when a fire starts.               
  •  Ready - Be fire adapted and read
Take personal responsibility and prepare long before the threat of a wildland fire so your home is ready in case of a wildfire. Create defensible space by clearing brush away from your home. Use fire-resistant landscaping and harden your home with fire-safe construction measures. Assemble emergency supplies and belongings in a safe place. Plan escape routes and make sure all those living in your home know your wildfire action plan.

  • Set – Situational awareness
Pack your emergency items (put together a "go kit"). Stay aware of the latest news and information on the wildfire from local media, your local fire department and public safety agency. 

  •  Go – Act early!
Follow your personal wildland fire action plan (get yourself and your family to safety). Doing so will not only support your safety, but will allow firefighters to best maneuver resources to combat the fire. Consider additional evacuation routes to travel from your home to safety.
To focus on the fire prevention aspect, the Office of Stare Fire Marshal will be introducing a well-known Pacific Northwest mystery into their wildland fire prevention marketing campaign, known as Bigfoot or Sasquatch. Bigfoot will be portrayed as a protector of the wilderness and his “home” and encouraging residents to take action with fire safety and prevent wildland fires.

As communities, you can also can take many steps to become fire adapted. Programs such as FireWise and the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network offer proven ways to reduce fuels around our homes and communities and make structures less likely to burn.
As always, be safe out there and thank you for all that you do to keep your communities safe from fire.
Oregon State Fire Marshal Jim Walker
Wildland Urban Interface Structural Fire Listening and Understanding Tour
T he Office of State Fire Marshal has scheduled a series of Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Listening and Understanding Tour dates to meet with Oregon fire chiefs regarding WUI prevention. These scheduled tour locations are in counties that are most at-risk from the impact of WUI fire and are primarily based on historical conflagration response data.
Predictive weather services continues to note trends in limited snowpack, consistent drought conditions, and warmer weather. Despite the recent winter storms, these trends do not show relief in the near future. Oregon is also experiencing population and housing development increases. As we review these trends and impacts to the WUI, the OSFM will be engaging Oregon fire chiefs in conversations regarding local needs related to WUI fire prevention.

In preparation for the tour dates, a report released last November assists with a broader understanding of the WUI fire impact as it applies to housing density in Oregon. The document identifies local communities at risk from wildfire in Oregon and Washington. It is available on the web at Exposure of human communities to wildfire in the Pacific Northwest .  

Dates are currently being scheduled in local areas at the below locations.
If you are interested in attending a session or discovering more about the tour, please email Claire McGrew at .  
Code Corner
by OSFM Code Deputy David Mills
Food Truck Safety
Food Trucks (i.e., mobile food preparation vehicles) have been gaining popularity in recent years, and until recently, there were no nationwide codes, standards, or guidelines to provide the minimum fire safety requirements.

Oregon is in preparation to adopt the next edition of fire codes statewide. The 2018 International Fire Code has regulations to protect public health, safety, and welfare, and to provide a consistent minimum standard for food truck safety. Section 319 entitled Mobile Food Preparation Vehicles has been developed to provide protection from tragedy caused by fire, establish predictable, and consistent minimum standards statewide for a practical balance between reasonable safety, and costs to protect life and property.

According to a presentation at the 2015 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Conference, between 2011-2015 there were 21 injuries and two deaths resulting from food truck accidents in the United States. Source: .

Did you know? A standard 20-gallon propane tank has the same explosive capability as 170 sticks of dynamite. Some trucks in unregulated jurisdictions carry propane tanks in excess of 100 gallons. Source: .

There have been nearly 25 serious mobile food preparation vehicle fires in the United States and Canada during the past four years that resulted in at least 25 injuries and two fatalities, including one serious injury to a firefighter. Source .

In Oregon, there were 41 total food truck fires reported to the OSFM between 2003-2018. The trend in the graph below shows increasing cooking fire frequency by year.
A majority of the food cart fires in Oregon occurred in Portland, Oregon.
Stakeholder meetings are underway with industry and fire service to establish minimum fire and life safety code requirements for food truck safety. 

The next meeting is scheduled for March 12, 2019 , from 2:00-4:00 pm, at Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training located at 4190 Aumsville Hwy SE, Salem, OR 97317.

All are welcome!
What fireworks “season” looks like at OSFM
Even though many think the fireworks “season” starts a little before July 4, at the Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM), it has already begun. In February of each year, the Regulatory Services Division’s (RSD) fireworks program begins to receive applications for the display of fireworks and the retail sales of Oregon consumer fireworks.

For the fire service, this means many of you have already begun to receive and approve these applications as well, not to mention our law enforcement partners who also have to approve the display applications.

Last year the OSFM issued more than 700 retail sales permits and almost 500 display permits. We receive and process most of the applications between the beginning of March and the end of June, with the bulk of that later during that time. In addition to issuing the original permits, many applicants submit changes, which requires a revised permit to be issued.

Who does all this work? The RSD has two support staff that perform the bulk of this work in addition to supporting six other regulatory programs on a daily basis. They review each application to be sure it contains all of the required information. If it is missing any or if the information is unclear, they contact the applicant. Once an application is approved, it is entered into a database where the permit is then generated and issued.

In addition to issuing permits for the use of fireworks related to July 4, we also issue permits for the use of pest control fireworks and special effects fireworks. Pest control fireworks are used in the agricultural industry and at some golf courses. Special effects fireworks are used in TV, movie, theatrical productions, and at concerts.

After July 4th, the work continues by receiving the required after show reports for the displays that took place. These are reviewed to verify they contain all of the required information and if not, the pyro technician in charge is contacted. Throughout the year we issue permits for using fireworks at various sporting events including baseball and football games, and rodeos. Then in early fall, we begin the process of renewing fireworks wholesaler permits. Those permits are usually issued before January of each year. Soon after that, the fireworks “season” starts all over again.

We appreciate the great working relationship we have with our police and fire partners. That, combined with the hard and thorough work of the OSFM RSD staff, Oregonians are able to enjoy fireworks in a variety of ways throughout the year. Thank you, partners, for your continued service and a huge thank you to the OSFM RSD staff who make it all happen.
Data Connection
  News from the Analytics & Intelligence Unit
by Analytics & Intelligence Program Coordinator Kayla Brookshire &
Fire Data Specialist Candice Clark
NFA courses coming to Oregon in June
The Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training and the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal will be hosting the following two National Fire Academy classes. Registration information will be provided in the April Gated Wye.
Building Organizational Support for Community Risk Reduction (F0636)
Dates: June 3rd - 4th, 2019
Time: 0800-1700 each day
Location: Oregon Public Safety Academy, 4190 Aumsville Hwy SE, Salem, OR
Cost: Free
Instructor: Michael Weller
Course Information:
This two-day course is designed to help fire and emergency services learn what community risk reduction is and how to build organizational support for it. This course will address the challenges that fire departments face in shifting their priorities from response to prevention. In many departments, community risk reduction is still considered a low priority. This course will show you how community risk reduction can help you and your department become more of a community player in times of decreased budgets.

View the pre-course materials pre-course materials  and course syllabu s .

Prerequisites: There is a pre-course assignment that should take about one hour to complete.

Executive Skills Series: Exercising Leadership within Communities (F0520)

Dates: June 5th – 6th, 2019
Time: 0800-1700 each day
Location: Oregon Public Safety Academy, 4190 Aumsville Hwy SE, Salem, OR
Cost: Free
Instructor: Kevin Brame
Course Information:
The purpose of this two-day course is to provide fire service authority figures with knowledge and skills, enabling them to exercise leadership when confronting adaptive challenges presented by increasingly diverse internal and external communities. The goal of the course is for participants to use the diversity of ideas, peoples and cultures as resources in exercising leadership to address adaptive challenges in their communities.

View the course syllabus .
Prerequisites: None

NFA courses at DPSST:
Lodging on campus in the dorms will be available for those traveling 75+ miles.

DPSST provides lunch to course attendees through the use of meal cards. Breakfast and dinner are not provided; however, they are available for purchase at the DPSST cafeteria.

Dress is business casual wear - no jeans. This can include: Class B uniform, slacks, khakis, dress shirt/blouse, open-collar or polo shirt, optional tie, tailored blazer, sweater, dress/skirt at knee-length.
You will receive an emailed certificate from FEMA/NFA for the course. DPSST does not supply these, so please be sure to provide a valid working email address.
For questions, please contact Barbara Slinger at or at 503-378-2408.
Registration Open for 2019 Task Force Leader Symposium
OSFM’s 2019 Task Force Leader Symposium will be held April 17-18 at Seven Feathers Resort in Canyonville, OR. 

Registration closes March 8 th . 

The event will begin Wednesday, April 17 th at 1300 hrs and will end at 1500 hrs on Thursday, April 18 th . Please register to attend by following this link:

Registration and lodging reservations are separate. To make lodging reservations, you can either call 1-888-677-7771 and refer to “OSFM INCIDENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING 2019” or use the following link (recommended method):

This event is intended for Task Force Leaders, Assistants, and those hoping to fill the position during the 2019 season. 

Anyone with questions may contact .  
OSFM new employee
Melanie Wadsworth is the new G eographic Information System (GIS) Specialist at OSFM, where she is looking forward to setting up and supporting the team w ith a variety of GIS projects. She is very excited to learn and implement all aspects of GIS for fire related projects.

Before starting at OSFM, Melanie worked in GIS positions across a variety of industries. In her last position, she was a GIS Analyst contractor responsible for the GIS program for a team of archaeologists and environmental protection specialists at Bonneville Power Administration. Her primary duties included managing the GIS workflow for cultural resource field data collection, leading the mapping of areas impacted by construction and environmental mitigation projects, and coordinating with other agencies and tribal partners on GIS projects in support of Section 106 (federal undertaking) of the National Historic Preservation Act.

Prior to working at BPA, Melanie was immersed in the water resource industry with a heavy focus on using GIS to map flood zones, populations living within predicted coastal storm surge areas, and risk policy patterns for nationwide FEMA contracts.

Melanie has a B.S. in Geography from the University of Oregon (go Ducks!), along with continuing education from Portland Community College in Computer Information Systems. She was born in Oregon and moved to Alaska at the age of 8, returning to Oregon as an adult to enjoy a more moderate climate. She has one grown daughter and two cats and likes to garden, hike, and spend time at the coast in her spare time.