Much of Medford at risk of wildfires

In Medford, 2,300 homes are at risk from wildland fires, even if there happens to be a hydrant right outside the door.

"These neighborhoods may have a false sense of security," said Greg Kleinberg, Medford fire marshal. "Many of the older areas have vegetation that could burn up."

The Medford Fire Department has determined that 1,400 houses above Foothill Road in east Medford could be threatened by a wildfire. Another 900 houses in west Medford in the Griffin Creek area also are in a hazardous wildfire area.

Some of the neighborhoods are just like any other residential area in Medford, with paved roads and fire hydrants.

The difference is these homes are within the wildfire area, so embers or spot fires could start easily, endangering homes.

Kleinberg said more than 90 percent of homes destroyed in wildfire areas nationally are started by embers or spot fires, not dramatic columns of flames.

About 80 percent of these homes would have been saved if the homeowners had developed a defensible space.

Generally, a defensible space is an area 100 feet in all directions around a house that should be kept free and clear of shrubs or other debris that can burn readily. Homeowners can go beyond the 100-foot perimeter if possible to make their homes even safer, Kleinberg said.

Combustible furniture on the deck should be removed. Also, get rid of leaves piled against a house, remove pine needles and debris from gutters and move firewood at least 30 feet away from the house.

In older neighborhoods, Kleinberg has seen lots of vegetation around homes, including large trees. He said residents have been warned about the potential problems, but people are reluctant to remove mature trees.

To find out whether you are in the wildfire hazard area, or to schedule a free inspection in Medford, call 541-774-2300. For a map of the wildfire hazard area in east Medford, go to

Is your home in the fire hazard area? Type in your address below to search a database of homes within the Medford city limits that are inside the wildfire hazard area. To see all Medford addresses in the hazard area, simply click 'search'.

Click here to load this Caspio Online Database app.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or e-mail

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