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Hearings set on draft changes to wildfire-related land classification rules
Contact: Rod Nichols, 503-945-7425, rnichols@odf.state.or.us
 
The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) will hold public hearings this month on proposed changes to land classification rules used to categorize forest and grazing lands for wildfire protection. The hearings are scheduled as follows:
  • Feb. 16, 1 p.m., Coos Forest Protective Association, 63612 Fifth Rd., Coos Bay
  • Feb. 17, 9 a.m., Douglas Forest Protective Association, 1758 NE Airport Rd., Roseburg
  • Feb. 19, 9 a.m., Oregon Dept. of Forestry, Bldg. C – Tillamook Room, 2600 State St., Salem
 
The proposed rule changes reflect revisions made by the Oregon Legislature through chapter 69, Oregon Laws 2009.
 
The draft changes include:
  • How lands are to be classified
  • Classification requirements and limitations
  • Requirements for maps used in the process
  • When to hold community meetings
  • Requirements for the formal written order
  • Limitations of the protection district and State Forester

The proposed rulemaking would also repeal the current rules.
 
At the hearings, ODF staff will explain the proposed changes, which were developed by a 29-member steering committee. The committee was made up of a broad cross-section of individuals and representatives of organizations that share an interest in protecting the forest resource and the expanding wildland-urban interface. ("Wildland-urban interface" refers to the area where structures and other human development meet or intermingle with undeveloped land.)
 
The recommended rule changes were prompted by alterations to Oregon’s landscape that have occurred in the more than 40 years since the forestland classification system was established. In particular, the increased presence of homes in the wildland-urban interface has complicated firefighting efforts and elevated wildfire risk in some forested areas.
 
The public is invited to attend and comment on the proposed rule changes. Comment can be made in person at the hearings or in writing via letter, email or fax to: Sabrina Perez, rules coordinator, Oregon Dept. of Forestry, 2600 State St., Salem, OR 97310, 503-945-7212 fax, sperez@odf.state.or.us. Deadline to submit comments is Feb. 22, 2010.