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Fire protection in the wildland urban interface

Defensible space graphic

Oregon's Defensible Space Law enlists the aid of property owners to better protect their homes and firefighters during encroaching wildfires. The law requires property owners to reduce excess vegetation, which may fuel a fire, around homes and other structures. In some cases, it is also necessary to create fuel breaks along property lines and roadsides.

The Act is fully described in Oregon Revised Statute 477.015 through 477.061 and Oregon Administrative Rules 629-044-1000 through 629-044-1110.

OAR's with tables

Searchable database of properties that meet the criteria under the Act.

Based on your area's fire risk listed in the searchable database, complete the appropriate self-certification form below and submit electronically or through the mail.

Urban interface information

Forestland-urban interface areas are identified in each county by a classification committee. A committee is composed of five members -- three appointed by the county, one by the state fire marshal and one by the state forester. The process of identifying forestland-urban interface areas follows steps and definitions described in Oregon Administrative Rules 629-044-1005 through 629-044-0145. Briefly, the identification criteria include: 

  • Lands within the county that are also inside an Oregon Department of Forestry protection district.
  • Lands that meet the state’s definition of “forestland.”
  • Lands that meet the definition of “suburban” or “urban”; in some cases, “rural” lands may be included within a forestland-urban interface area for the purpose of maintaining meaningful, contiguous boundaries.
  • Lots that are grouped with other lots with similar characteristics in a minimum density of four structures per 40 acres.

Once forestland-urban interface areas are identified, a committee applies fire-risk classifications to the areas. The classifications range from “low” to “extreme," and the classification is used by a property owner to determine the size of a fuel break that needs to be established around a structure. 

After a committee completes its draft identification and classification maps, a public hearing is held to formally exhibit the committee’s findings and hear testimony. The maps are finalized by the committee after the hearing, and the findings are filed with the county clerk and the Oregon Board of Forestry. At that point, ODF assumes administrative responsibility and notifies the owners of properties within the county's forestland-urban interface areas. Property owners have two years after receiving their letter of notification to comply with the fuel-reduction standards described in OAR 629-044-1050 through 629-044-1085. 

A committee convenes every five years to review forestland-urban interface classifications. ​

Property owners within identified forestland-urban interface areas are asked to self-certify that they meet or exceed standards established by the Oregon Department of Forestry​. After evaluating your property, and meeting the standards, complete a self-certification form below based on your property's hazard rating. Submit the form electronically or send a signed hard copy to ODF. Certification is required every five years or when a property is sold, a structure is added, or reclassified by a county's classification committee. Certification relieves a property owner from the Act's fire cost recovery liability (up to $100,000 of extraordinary fire suppression costs). Certification may also help acquire or reduce homeowner's insurance. Check with your local provider for details. 

Homeowner Self-Certification Guidelines

Based on your property's hazard classification (low, moderate, high, or extreme), select the appropriate link to determine your "Steps to Wildfire Protection."  

Searchable Database​ for properties meeting criteria under the Act.

Not in the system? If your home has not been identified under the Act, you can still take advantage of the valuable standards outlined in the program.

Please use Internet Explorer as your browser when accessing and submitting certification forms. Not applicable with mobile devices.

Other tips for protecting your home from wildfire:



Fire Protection Division
2600 State Street
Salem, OR 97310

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