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Sunset View Estates to receive national wildfire mitigation honor


As Deschutes County began implementing the Oregon Forestland Urban Interface Fire Protection Act of 1997, also known as Senate Bill 360, Sunset View Estates south of Bend was identified as “High Density Extreme,” which was the highest rating possible, it also meant that the chances for a devastating wildland fire was the highest than any other neighborhood in the county.

This rating alarmed both residences and the homeowner association and work began in earnest to correct not only the wildland fire risk, but to begin a process of education for the property owners, according to Joe Stutler, former Deschutes County forester and now senior advisor .

With a grant awarded by Deschutes County and Project Wildfire, mowing, pruning, limbing and removal of defensible space debris began in earnest. The residences and homeowners association recognized the benefit and began a process to both lower the “high density extreme” rating and make their neighborhood safe from wildland fire.

Since the inception, there is an annual budget to maintain those initial investments and now annual maintenance is performed on commons, vacant lots, golf course property and residences, entirely supported by the homeowner association budget.

The sustained effort resulted in Sunset View Estates being recognized as a Firewise USA® Site in 2012 and this continued commitment has maintained the currency as Firewise USA® Site in subsequent years.

As a result of this sustained effort, Sunset View Estates will receive the National Wildland Fire Mitigation Award in 2019. Only seven awards were offered in the United States.

These individuals and organizations have earned the highest commendation for innovation and leadership in wildfire mitigation for their outstanding dedication to solving many of the most complex challenges posed by wildfire.

This accomplishment would not be possible without the dedication of the homeowners association and several individuals that live in Sunset View Estates, Stutler said.

“These individuals continually look for opportunities to protect their investments and are a great example of how one neighborhood can make the cultural shift from “high density extreme” to becoming a Fire Adapted Community in Central Oregon,” he said..

News release from the National Association of State Foresters:

Individuals and organizations honored for exemplary commitment to community fire protection. WASHINGTON–The Wildfire Mitigation Awards committee has named the seven recipients of this year’s Wildfire Mitigation Awards. These individuals and organizations have earned the highest commendation for innovation and leadership in wildfire mitigation for their outstanding dedication to solving many of the most complex challenges posed by wildfire.

Established in 2014 and co-sponsored by the National Association of State Foresters (NASF), the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the USDA Forest Service (USFS), these awards help to demonstrate the tremendous societal value wildfire mitigation efforts provide.

The winners of the 2019 Wildfire Mitigation Awards are:

Byron Bonney (Bitter Root Resource Conservation and Development Area) (Hamilton, Montana) City of Pigeon Forge (Pigeon Forge, Tennessee) Greater Flagstaff Forests Partnership (Flagstaff, Arizona) Pat Dwyer (Logtown Fire Safe Council and El Dorado County Fire Safe Council) (Logtown, California) Paulette Church (Durango, Colorado) Rocky Infanger (Tri-County FireSafe Working Group/Wolf Creek Volunteer Fire Department) (Helena, Montana) Sunset View Estates (Bend, Oregon) “State forestry agencies know firsthand that it’s always wildfire season somewhere in the United States,” said Lisa Allen, NASF president and Missouri state forester. “The 2019 Wildfire Mitigation Awardees know this too. Year-round, they contribute to wildfire mitigation efforts that ensure the safety of thousands of communities nationwide. We congratulate them for receiving this honor and thank them for their dedication to this critically important work.”

“Wildland fire is more destructive, costly and deadly than ever before,” said Chief Dan Eggleston, IAFC president and chairman of the Board of Directors. “I’m proud to congratulate this year’s National Wildfire Mitigation Award winners for their outstanding leadership and contributions to wildland fire risk reduction in their communities.”

“The Wildfire Mitigation Awards honor exemplary achievements and demonstrate the possibilities of what can be accomplished. The National Fire Protection Association is proud to be a part of recognizing these outstanding recipients,” said Michele Steinberg, director of NFPA’s Wildfire Division.

The 2019 Wildfire Mitigation Awards will be presented at the Wildland-Urban Interface Conference in Reno, Nevada, on March 27. For more information, visit

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