Forestry | News | Oregon

Ashland May Redraw Fire Hazard Maps To Include Entire City

OPB | April 17, 2014 2:56 p.m. | Updated: April 18, 2014 6:36 a.m. | Bend, Oregon

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Fire authorities in Ashland are recommending changes that would bring the entire city into what’s known as a wildfire hazard zone. 

Downtown Ashland (file photo).

Downtown Ashland (file photo).

Visitor7 / Wikimedia.org

Wildfire hazard zones are pretty much what you might have already guessed. They’re areas where there’s believed to be a significant risk of wildfire for large parts of the year. 

Local jurisdictions can use these zones to impose certain restrictions, like, for example, keeping home builders from installing flammable wood shake roofs on new homes. 

When Ashland drew its maps more than 20 years ago, most of the city was excluded from the hazard zone.

But some recent fires caused Ashland Fire & Rescue to revisit the issue. 

Forest Division Chief Chris Chambers says the most significant of those was the Oak Knoll Fire which destroyed 11 homes in 2010.

“That was not in the wildfire hazard zone and yet we had probably the most significant residential loss in Ashland’s history,” says Chambers.

Chambers says any amendments to the zone would need to be approved by the city planning commission and the Ashland City Council.

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