The small town of Sisters sits in the middle of the state of Oregon, surrounded by the Cascade Mountains. In the past decade, the population has doubled to over 2,000 residents, making fire safety more important than ever.
On August 5, 2012, a lightning storm passed over the area igniting at least 17 separate fires. Captain Matt Cyrus of the Cloverdale Fire Protection District was first on the scene at his family property, where one of the fires was burning.
The fire was not causing as much damage as it could have because Cyrus and his family had prepared for such a potential disaster. Shortly after acquiring the family property over 15 years ago, Cyrus partnered with the Oregon Department of Forestry and Deschutes County to treat 500 acres of land that provided a significant buffer of protection to his land and nearby subdivisions from the high risk of wildfire. Funding was also provided by FEMA’s Pre Disaster Mitigation grant program. When his family later developed the nearby Aspen Lakes community, they incorporated Firewise principles into its design as well.