Fire Evacuation

Tollgate map with fire exits and evacuation info (pdf)

Tollgate Dump Trailer

The Tollgate Dump Trailer is available to homeowners to use for gathering the common area pine cones, needles and seedlings. It’s a great way to reduce the fuel load around your property. Try inviting your neighbors and make a it into a party!

There are two times offered each week, Friday 10 am to Wednesday at 8 am, and Wednesday 10 am  to Friday at 8 am. Homeowners will receive an automated reminder two days ahead of time.

Click on this link to sign up:

You can enter info about where the maintenance staff should deliver the trailer. Staff will pick it up and take it to the dump. Tollgate will pick up the tab for the dump fee.

Need to freshen up your home address sign?

Many Tollgate properties sport decades old, faded address markers. The Sisters Camp Sherman Fire Department provides beautiful, bright green 6″ x 13″ reflective address sign and mounting post to all interested property owners of the fire district. These signs are installed at the beginning of the driveway or common access road to properly identify your residence from the street. The cost is only $20 and includes installation. Order yours online!

Firewise Fact Sheets

Firewise FAQ

Here’s the formal description: The national Firewise USA® recognition program provides a collaborative framework to help neighbors in a geographic area get organized, find direction, and take action to increase the ignition resistance of their homes and community and to reduce wildfire risks at the local level. The Firewise USA® program is administered by NFPA® and is co-sponsored by the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.

Simply put, Firewise provides voluntary guidance for community volunteers to voluntarily work together to keep their homes from burning down. It has absolutely no enforcement protocols or authority, just in case you were wondering about that!

Basically, the idea to “reignite” this volunteer program came about when neighbors started asking each other about the increasing fire danger. Several of us pursued those questions with local fire departments and subsequently got organized enough to go to the TPOA  board for permission to create a Firewise committee. Permission was received; local government grant money was awarded, and the committee began meeting to plan ways to help us all learn how to mitigate the very real fire danger to our community.

The Firewise committee developed four goals: Outreach, Events, Education, and Assessment. Implementation of each of these goals is based on building community, mutual trust, and voluntary participation. Outreach includes a new page on the TPOA web site; the first community event is May 6-7; education is ongoing; assessment tools are based on ones developed by the National Firewise for homeowners to use to learn how they might protect their homes. The committee is chaired by Jane Killefer; members include: TPOA board liaisons Jerry Davis and Jim Nash, Chris Laing, Bob Zapponi, Kathy Campbell, Chris West and Joan Hardie.

Evacuation is generally the first thing people want to learn about. So here’s the scoop:

  • Where are we supposed to go? The short answer is out Tollgate Road to Highway 20. Usually. Fires can be unpredictable, but the emergency exits are not the first choice for evacuation; those bumpy bad roads are not conducive to quick escapes and may well put you in the path of an oncoming fire. In addition, the fire departments and other emergency personnel need those roads available to bring IN equipment as needed. Emergency personnel will likely be on hand.
  • How do I get notified of the evacuation plan? Basically, you need to pay attention to media outlets and online announcements. Definitely sign up for “reverse 911” through Deschutes County.  We can help you do this if you bring your phone to the Firewise Rally on May 7.

Start reading everything you can get your hands on about preparing for fire. We guarantee that you will find easy first steps to take and information on what more can be done later. Here’s a good place to start: Then, come to the Firewise Kickoff and Rally in Tollgate on May 6-7.

 As you know, Tollgate consists of a combination of private land and houses, along with shared common areas. Did you know there are 13.25 miles along the paved roads and cul-de-sacs with about 250 acres of common area altogether? Whew! The TPOA Board of Directors and the Firewise committee are working together to coordinate resources to clean up and maintain the common areas. This will be a major community undertaking, but we are confident we can get it done. We have to!

Firewise Information

Please take time to review the following information regarding wildfire prevention, Fire Alert and Evacuation procedures, burning regulations, fire exit locations and Red Cross Family Disaster Plan.

Each year, Tollgate supplies the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire Department and Deschutes County Emergency Control Services with a binder containing pertinent information regarding our residents and subdivision infrastructure.

Fire Free Day at the Northwest Transfer Station on Fryear Road is in May each year (TBA). Disposal of yard debris will be at “no charge” (FREE!).

Please note the Tollgate’s outdoor burning regulations have changed. TPOA will no longer allow campfires, burn barrels or wood fire pits during the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire Department designated fire season. Gas or charcoal barbecue units or propane fire pits will be allowed.

Absolutely no burning of fireworks is allowed in Tollgate.

What is Firewise®?

The national Firewise USA® recognition program provides a collaborative framework to help neighbors in a geographic area get organized, find direction, and take action to increase the ignition resistance of their homes and community and to reduce wildfire risks at the local level. Any community that meets a set of voluntary criteria on an annual basis and retains an “In Good Standing Status” may identify itself as being a Firewise® Site.  

Find out more about Firewise

Maintain defensible space

In 1979 a forest fire swept through Tollgate destroying several homes. This video, (video courtesy of Boone Zimmerlee, Oregon Deptment of Forestry COD Stewardship Forester) shows why it is so important to maintain defensible space around your home. Other fires in our area in the past include the Cache Mountain Fire that took out two homes in Black Butte Ranch in 2002. In the Three Rivers area west of Madras, the Eyerly Fire destroyed 18 structures in 2002, the Awbrey Hall inferno in 1990 that burned 22 homes, while the Skeleton Fire incinerated 19 more in 1996.

A note from your Tollgate Firewise Committee: Watch this video about Tollgate! It is mesmerizing. Look for familiar landmarks in Tollgate; see what you recognize; watch and listen to the roar of the flames as this fire tried to devour our neighborhood. And listen closely to the expert analysis and advice offered more than four decades ago on protecting your home, your neighbors’ homes and our community. Are you frightened? More well-informed? Inspired to get your home protected? Wondering why more hasn’t been done in 43 years? Ready to help? We are!

Tollgate was organized as a corporation in 1972. We have 346 acres consisting of 440 ½ acre lots and 126 acres of common area. Communication is the key and each year we send out quarterly general Newsletters and yearly Newsletters for Fire, Life Safety, Bark Beetle Mitigation, and Weed Abatement. Each year, we issue Emergency Response Plan binders to Sisters, Camp Sherman Fire Department, and Deschutes County Emergency services. These binders contain emergency numbers for our staff and contractors, fire exit locations and lock combos and resident lists. Color-coded maps are also enclosed showing locations of wells, hydrants, fire exits, properties that have a shake roof structure and residents that may need assistance. Our community is so very thankful for the grant support we have received as our funds are limited.

Fire-Life-Safety Timeline

As noted in this video, the goal is to reduce the fuel loading in a manner that does NOT detract from the aesthetic values of the neighborhood.

  • 1994 – Amended CC&R’s  –  Shake roofs no longer allowed on new construction or replacement roofing. Only 53 lots or 12% have a shake roof structure.
  • 1995 – Informed property owners of the fire hazards in our community along with guidelines for removing fire fuels.
  • 1996 – Installed Fire Hydrants and adopted the Emergency Response Plan.
  • 1997 and 1999 – Received a Grant from the Oregon National Guard Youth Challenge Program to remove the bitterbrush from our common areas. Grant Amount $74,500 – TPOA portion $4,530. 1998 – Mandated property owners to remove bitterbrush from their property.
  • 2000 – Established additional Fire Exit off Wagon Wheel.
  • 2001 – Thinned and limbed trees in our interior common areas.
  • 2003 – Received a Grant from ODF for fuel reduction. Grant amount $12,571 – TPOA portion $2,025.
  • 2004 & 2005 – Thinned and limbed up trees in our roadside common areas.
  • 2005 – We have three Accredited Assessors for Senate Bill 360 – Sent Senate Bill 360 Property Certification Authorization Letter to property owners. Senate Bill 360 Property Compliances – All 440 properties have been inspected. 413 or 93% are in compliance.
  • 2005 – Received a Grant from ODF for fuel reduction.
  • 2006 – Established an additional fire exit between Buggywhip and Cantle.
  • 2006 – Mandate the remaining 65 properties or 15% to adhere to Senate Bill 360 by June 1, 2010. 2007 – Received a Grant from ODF for Bark Beetle Mitigation on roadside common areas. Grant amount $20,792.
  • 2007 – Both wells have back up generators and security fencing.
  • 2007 – Received a Grant ($11,990) from Deschutes County for Bark Beetle Mitigation in our interior common areas. Our common areas are now in compliance with Senate Bill 360, Bark Beetle Mitigation and Noxious Weed Abatement. Noxious Weed Grants $1,372.
  • 2009 – Received fire exit signs from Project Wildfire.
  • 2010 – Received a Sweat Equity Grant from Deschutes County, Project Wildfire, to reduce fuels in high fire risk area. Grant amount $24,080. To date, 365 or 88% of our properties have participated in the Sweat Equity Grant with an additional 22 or 5% of our properties not needing fuel reduction.
  • 2010 – Received the 2010 Safe Sidewalk Award from Deschutes County Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.  All 440 lots and common areas are in compliance with Senate Bill 360.
  • 2010 – Received an Award from Deschutes County Rural Fire Protection for reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire in our community.
  • 2013 –  Became a Firewise Community.  Re-inspected properties for Senate Bill 360 compliance.
  • 2016 – Received Sweat Equity FEMA Grant to reduce fuels in high fire risk area.
  • 2016 – Sisters Camp Sherman Fire Department inspected our properties for Project Wild Fire and Senate Bill 360 Compliancy.

Firewise Volunteer Hours

For a community to receive a Firewise rating, the community must log volunteer hours. For 2021 an hour was valued at $27.20, and participating sites must accomplish the equivalent of one hour of work for every dwelling unit (home) in the community (Tollgate has 440 units). They can achieve this through documenting work hours, cash spent, or in-kind services received.