The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) is canceling the July 26 community information session scheduled in Grants Pass. The July 27 information session scheduled in Medford will now be a virtual meeting only. Anyone may attend the virtual session.
ODF’s information session in Grants Pass was canceled due to concern for the physical safety of attendees and ODF employees. ODF says the safety of the communities served and ODF employees is top priority. Officials affirm they want the opportunity to talk with people about their concerns and questions about the wildfire risk map, which is why ODF is still hosting a virtual meeting Wednesday evening. ODF says they understand that there are Oregonians who need an in-person participation option. They will be looking for future opportunities to have an in-person meeting in southwest Oregon in the near future.
The virtual meeting will be held through Zoom from 7-8 p.m. Wednesday, July 27. Join the meeting through this link: https://odf.zoom.us/j/97802419789.
Each information 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.
Property owners in the high and extreme risk classes have received written notice from ODF 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.