The Shearer Hill Fire in 2018. Photo: Chas Hundley.

GALES CREEK - Wildfire season is nearly upon the Gales Creek Valley and surrounding Tillamook Forest, and the Gales Creek Neighborhood Watch wants you to learn how to prepare your home at a community gathering at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 25 at the Gales Creek School gymnasium.

According to event organizers, the event will host Forest Grove Fire & Rescue fire safety inspector Dave Nemeyer, who will speak on the subjects of fire danger levels, backyard burning, burn bans, home fire defense, and more.

Fire has always been a hot topic in Gales Creek. The historic Tillamook Burn started in the region, and in 2018, more than 25 acres burned in a wildfire that resulted in evacuations and damage to properties near Timmerman and Shearer Hill Roads.

Throughout the fire season, it’s not uncommon to have multiple small brush fires in a week, leaving Forest Grove Fire & Rescue and neighboring agencies playing a game of whack-a-mole throughout the hotter months, putting out small roadside, field, and other fires caused by a variety of reasons—lightning, sparking electric wires, vehicle exhaust and farm equipment, and human negligence such as unattended or still-hot burn piles— to ensure that the next Tillamook Burn isn’t started in Gales Creek.

According to event organizers, refreshments will be provided, and attendees are encouraged to arrive early to meet with neighbors at this community event.

The Gales Creek area, part of the Forest Grove Rural Fire Protection District, is served by Forest Grove Fire & Rescue, with frequent assistance from Banks Fire District 13 and other neighboring fire and emergency medical agencies depending on need and emergency.

The Gales Creek School, which houses Forest Grove School District's Oak Grove Academy and a variety of community events, is located in the heart of downtown Gales Creek at 9125 NW Sargent Rd, Gales Creek, OR 97117.