Oregon forestry department to hold community information sessions on state's recently released wildfire risk map; each session will include presentation about map's purpose, how wildfire risk is assessed, how property owners can appeal assigned risk class

Sample article from our Government & Public Policy

July 22, 2022 (press release) –

The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) is holding a series of community information sessions starting July 26 and 27 in southwest Oregon. Each session will include a presentation about the map’s function and purpose, how wildfire risk is assessed, and how property owners may appeal their assigned risk class. Time will be available to address questions from community members.

The wildland-urban interface (WUI) and statewide wildfire risk map available through the Oregon Explorer is a tool to help inform decision making and planning related to mitigating wildfire risk for communities throughout Oregon.

Representatives from Oregon State University who produced the map based on rules adopted by the Board of Forestry will also attend the sessions.

The first set of meetings is in southwest Oregon. Two sessions are currently scheduled, one in Medford, and one in Grants Pass. Both meetings are from 7-8 p.m. Dates and locations for each community meetings are as follows:

  • July 26, Grants Pass— Anne G. Basker Auditorium, 500 NW 6th St.
  • July 27, Medford—Medford Public Library, 205 S Central Ave.

Details will soon be announced for sessions in The Dalles, La Grande, and Bend. Additional community meetings may be added.

Property owners in the high and extreme risk classes will receive written notice from ODF this week indicating the property’s risk class and whether it’s in the wildland urban interface. The notice will inform them if they may be subject to future defensible space or building code requirements and how to find information on those requirements. It will also provide information on the process to appeal a property’s risk classification.

For properties in the WUI and a risk classification of high or extreme, Senate Bill 762 requires actions to help mitigate the risk of wildfire through adoption of defensible space and home hardening building codes. Oregon State Fire Marshal is passing defensible space code requirements through a public process. Code adoption of defensible space requirements will occur December 2022, after the map validation and appeals period is closed. Those requirements won’t apply until later. Visit OSFM’s website for more information. Building Codes Division (BCD) will adopt home hardening building codes through a public process. Building codes will be adopted October 1, 2022 and will be effective April 1, 2023. Visit BCD’s website for more information.

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Dan Rivard
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