About the Fire Program
As Oregon’s largest fire department, ODF's Fire Protection program protects 16 million acres of forest, a $60 billion asset. These lands consist of privately owned forests as well as some public lands, including state-owned forests and, by contract, US Bureau of Land Management forests in western Oregon. ODF is also part of an extensive fire protection network that includes landowner resources, contract crews and aircraft, inmate crews, and agreements with public agencies across Oregon, the US and British Columbia.
ODF's firefighting policy is straightforward: Put out fires quickly at the smallest possible size. Most of the lands protected by the agency are working forests that produce revenue and support jobs. It is crucial to prevent fire damage to the timber resource that is an essential element of Oregon’s economy. This aggressive approach to firefighting also safeguards ecosystem values such as fish and wildlife habitats.
Funding the Fire Program
ODF's wildfire budget is complex, reflecting the diversity of the forest resource and its ownership. Multiple sources fund the work of ODF’s Fire Protection Division that include fire prevention and education as well as firefighting.
- Forest landowners pay a Forest Patrol Assessment to the state. The state’s General Fund matches the landowners’ portion.
- The Oregon Forest Land Protection Fund (OFLPF) helps pay for additional aircraft, heavy equipment and personnel when large fires require resources beyond the capability of ODF field districts. The OFLPF is funded entirely by landowners.
- During extreme fire conditions, ODF seeks access to a legislative special-purpose appropriation (SPA) to obtain additional firefighting resources. The SPA dollars come from the state's General Fund. Grants through various federal programs provide additional support.
- A private insurance policy helps cover firefighting expenses when all other funding sources have been expended.