With snow still melting at higher elevations and the Central Oregon landscape in full, spring bloom, “wildfire season” can seem a long way off, however fire prevention efforts are well under way in the Deschutes National Forest and other managed, public lands. Years of planning going into each prescribed burn, and we are grateful to the local and regional agencies that are working methodically and systematically to protect our natural landscape, wildlife, homes, property and community from the devastation that wildfires can bring.

Our idyllic location combines majestic mountains, old-growth forests, rivers and streams with a high desert climate. Wildfires are a natural part of the ecosystem for our forests and deserts, yet they are a serious threat to our community and property. As natives and long-time residents of Bend, our team has experienced firsthand the danger and stress that wildfires can bring.

FireFree events kick off this weekend in Bend and we encourage you to help protect your home, property and the greater community by participating in these free events. FireFree began as an informational outreach program in 1996 due to the aftermath of the Skeleton Fire in Bend. The wildfire, which began with a lightning strike, burned more than 17,000 acres, including 30 homes and outbuildings, and forced the evacuation of 450 homes. Today, Fire Free is a robust, multi-agency cooperative effort to protect the community by providing free disposal of flammable yard debris.

Last spring, more than 30,000 cubic yards of lawn and landscaping debris—enough to fill about 3,067 dump trucks—were recycled in Central Oregon through FireFree events. Due to the overwhelming demand, FireFree has added a new drop-off location on the west side near the Tree Farm neighborhood. See below for details about both Bend drop-off locations.

The FireFree website provides parameters for clearing the area around your home for optimal fire prevention as well as other guidelines for how to drop off your yard debris for free.

Here is the “if it grows, it goes” list of yard debris that FireFree accepts:

  • Grass clippings
  • Brush
  • Plant prunings
  • Pine needles
  • Pine cones
  • Weeds
  • Trimmings and branches
  • Stumps or trees under 12” in diameter

FireFree does not accept:

  • Rocks
  • Lumber
  • Metal
  • Sod
  • Dirt
  • Trash or plastics
  • Plastic bags

There are multiple drop-off sites throughout Central Oregon, including these Bend FireFree locations:

Knott Landfill
Daily, May 4-12
7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Discovery West / Brooks Resources – Skyliners Rd & Crossing Drive
Saturday and Sunday, May 4-5
Saturday and Sunday, May 11-12
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Click here to see more Central Oregon locations including Sunriver, Redmond, Sisters and others with dates and times.

Thank you for helping us prevent wildfires in Bend!