There are many Northwest residents who live in areas considered a “wildland urban interface” where homes are nestled among fields, forests, and natural spaces. One of these homes located in the 1500 block of Shadow Wood Drive in the Stafford area of Clackamas County caught fire today. Several callers to 911 reported heavy flames and thick black smoke around 11:40 a.m., but no one was able to identify the exact address.
Firefighters from TVF&R, Lake Oswego Fire Department and Clackamas Fire District could see a thick black column of smoke as they responded to the scene. They searched the area and found a home burning at the end of a narrow road beneath power lines. Fire had spread from the home to an adjacent shed and nearby trees and brush.
One of the occupants of the affected home was found nearby. Though she had safely evacuated, she was transported by American Medical Response for evaluation. Firefighters were able to knock down the bulk of the flames within 30 minutes and worked for two hours to douse hot spots, perform overhaul, search the burned remnants of the home and salvage belongings.
In addition to the obvious hazards at the scene of a fire, firefighters also contended with high outside temperatures and had to evacuate nearby homes when a natural gas leak was discovered near the scene.
A fire investigator will be working to determine the cause and origin of the fire and has enlisted help from Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. We appreciate our partners at Lake Oswego Fire Department, Clackamas Fire District, CCSO, AMR, PGE, NW Natural and Washington County Consolidated Communications (911 dispatch) for their help and expertise.
If you live in a wildland urban interface area, please take steps to make your home more defensible:
- Maintain a 30-foot safety zone around your home to remove leaves, brush, and other combustibles.
- Clear debris from gutters and underneath decks and crawlspaces.
- Mow and water lawns and other green belts regularly.
- De-limb trees at least 10 feet up from the ground.
- Plant low-growing, fire-resistant plants (groundcover, perennials, and annuals) near your home.
- Keep access in mind for large fire vehicles.
- Long driveways should be at least 12 feet wide, have 10 feet of vegetation clearance from the centerline out, and about 14 feet overhead.
- Turnaround areas are critical for your safety as well as firefighter safety.