What is your Oregon home’s risk of wildfire? New statewide map can tell you.

The Oregon Wildfires Explorer Map, created by Oregon State University as part of a new wildfire policy led by Senate Bill 762, lists wildfires in the state.

The Oregon Wildfires Explorer Map, created by Oregon State University as part of a new wildfire policy led by Senate Bill 762, lists wildfires in the state.

Oregon Wildfires

People around the state searched for an address to find out if their home was red.

Oregon Wildfires Explorer puts every tax lottery in Oregon in a zero-to-extreme risk category.

Large central, eastern, and southern Oregon fell into the red “extreme” wildfire category, depending on the weather, climate, vegetation, and nearby buildings.

About half of the state’s 1.8 million tax bills are classified as “wild-city-interface” and WUI. It is a name for homes and communities that are more vulnerable to wildfires because they are associated with forests and deserts.

Jackson County Fire Chief Bob Horton said the map helps determine where to focus on fire prevention in southern Oregon, where fires are at an all-time high.

“The new map gives us a granite to examine the levels of danger at the neighboring levels, in general, that we did not have before,” said Horton. We had trails in what we considered to be high-risk areas.

The map can be costly for some property owners and developers because the state is developing new building code and zoning requirements to help protect homes in high-risk areas.

The new rules are still in force and will not be approved by the end of this year but will apply to 120,000 holdings – about 8% of the total tax breaks in the region – both in the wild-city interface and named. High or high risk of fire. There is an appeal process for property owners who want to challenge the state’s wildfires.

The mapping process is part of a larger fire preparedness package that lawmakers passed last year in response to last year’s wildfires that burned 4,000 homes and more than one million acres in Oregon 2020.

Defensive position

Democratic State Sen. Ashland Senator Jeff Golden, who led the effort to pass the law, said government funding is available to help property owners meet new requirements and to clean up patrols around homes in high-risk areas and to use new fire-retardant materials. Construction.

“I really understand that people are worried about this,” he said. “Now we have to live differently from wildfires. In the last two years, we have clearly seen the future and many people have been seriously injured, but we have survived.

He said the state now has the opportunity to prepare for future fires and better protect homes and communities.

“The most important overall work is relatively simple and relatively inexpensive,” he said.

Mary Bradshow's fireplace in Elkhorn, Oregon,

Mary Bradshow’s fireplace in Elkhorn, Oregon,

Kristyna Wentz-Graff / OPB

Some preventive measures are recommended by clearing holes, cutting down the lower legs from trees, and removing invasive species, such as blackberry bushes.

The State of Oregon Fire Department Marshall and the Oregon Department of Consumer and Commerce Services are developing regulations to clean up enclosures around homes and implement wildfire building code standards. The new wildfire map will determine where future laws apply.

Brian Mulholen, a property owner in Gold Hill in southern Oregon, said he expects his home to be in the “most dangerous” category. In recent years he has seen a number of wildfires near the property.

“Much of southern Oregon, especially the Rogue Valley, is extremist,” he said.

Mulholen, a former battalion commander and current helicopter company manager who helps fight the fire, said he knew his house needed at least 100 feet of protection around it and was free of combustible plants.

But other homeowners are worried because they suddenly find themselves in the top fire category on the map.

“Most property owners don’t know what to do with it,” he said.

Mulholen, a youth training team from the Wildlife Fire Protection Team, helped prepare the fire for the season.

He said the region needs pressure from rules and regulations to help prepare property owners.

“Oregon is lagging behind other wildfires in terms of wildfire risk analysis,” he said.

Insurance costs

Some property owners are worried that the new risk assessment will affect their homeowner’s insurance.

Last month, Dwayne Canfield, a Portland resident, received a letter from an insurance company covering his sisters’ vacation rent.

“We have received a renewal notice stating that we have decided not to renew this policy due to a wildfire in the area,” he said. “I was shocked. We saw a fire here for a mile and a half, but I didn’t see it as a great danger. We are four blocks from downtown.

Canfield has been able to find another insurance provider without spending extra money on the policy, but if the state puts each property in the risk category, it expects to see more homeowners in the same situation now.

Northwest Insurance Council President Kenton Briny said insurance companies in the region are developing their own wildfire risk maps, so an emergency map from Oregon does not necessarily change their policy decisions.

“It is no surprise to insurance companies that there is a wildfire in those red areas,” he said.

Bren said some insurance companies are changing their approach as wildfires increase in the region.

“We’ve seen insurers change their emergency food needs – even before the massive Labor Day fire in Oregon,” he said.

According to Bren, most homeowners should not have to worry about getting insurance for their homes in fire-prone areas.

According to Golden, he and Oregon Forest Department officials have been discussing with Oregon Insurance Commissioner Andrew Stolefi about the impact of wildfire mapping on people’s insurance policy.

“This is a real thing. “We have to see that,” he said. “Wildfires in the West are a threat not only in Oregon but in the West as a whole. That will definitely upset the insurance market.

Bradley Parks reports from Bend.

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