In 2021, Oregon enacted sweeping legislation to give Oregonians the resources and tools to rise to the challenge of increased wildfire threat. With added resources, the Oregon State Fire Marshal is taking a two-pronged approach to making investments in how the Oregon fire service responds to fires and how communities can better prepare for wildfire through proven science and data.
The OSFM quickly stood up two initiatives, Response Ready Oregon and Fire Adapted Oregon. These programs have positively impacted communities across the state. Our strategic investments have proved successful as we rise to the challenge and strive to improve the lives of all Oregonians facing wildfire impact.
Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) Investments - $2.7 million
In February 2023, the OSFM made a strategic one-time $2.7 million investment at the local and county levels through community wildfire protection plans (CWPP). Projects will happen in 25 CWPP planning areas located in Baker, Benton, Clackamas, Coos, Crook, Curry, Deschutes, Douglas, Gilliam, Hood River, Jackson, Jefferson, Josephine, Lake, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Malheur, Marion, Morrow, Multnomah, Polk, Wallowa, Wheeler, and Yamhill counties.
Projects include promoting wildfire-specific community risk reduction efforts, community education, defensible space projects, home assessments, media campaigns, signage, fuel mitigation programs, and grant funds. A full list of projects and locations can be found here.
Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Assistance Grant - $4.9 Million
In January 2021, the Oregon Legislature Emergency Board granted $4.9 million to the OSFM to distribute to the Oregon fire service as grant funding. The WUI Assistance grant objective was to improve the capacity and capability of fire protection districts and departments across Oregon.
- 93 fire service partners received grants
- $2.6 million was awarded to 31 departments directly impacted by the 2020 wildfires
- 61 under-resourced departments, without funding to purchase equipment for their firefighters, received $1.4 million
- Seven departments received $812,000 in additional funding
These jurisdictions protect Oregon communities and play a pivotal role in preventing and suppressing wildland fires in the WUI. This grant was administered as a pass-through award.
Fire agencies impacted by the 2020 fire season, along with underrepresented and underserved communities, were prioritized, but all Oregon fire jurisdictions were eligible to receive funding.
"The skid pump was purchased with a WUI grant we were awarded from the OSFM. The pump was used to attack a trailer fire within two weeks of us getting it installed. The fire ran up into the trees and we were able to get a quick knockdown on it. Thank you again for providing us with this upgraded response capability."
-Chief Aton, Sumner Fire & EMS
WUI Assistance grant recipients across Oregon
Defensible Space Incentive (DSI) Grants - $271,000
To help prepare Oregonians for wildfire, the OSFM launched a Defensible Space Incentive (DSI) Grant in early 2022. The funding was allocated to schools and hospitals to create defensible space for added protection in the event of a wildfire.
The DSI Grant, a one-time $1,000 grant available to any Oregon public or private school, university, or hospital, encouraged applicants to improve their vegetative landscaping and maintain defensible space. In total, the OSFM allocated $271,000 in DSI grants.
St. Rose School defensible space improvements
The OSFM funded 260 school sites across 123 school organizations (school district, college, or private school) and 10 hospitals. Our office heard from several recipients about how the grant helped.
“We are very appreciative as a school community for the funding to keep our school environment as safe as possible. We are also thankful for the educational component of your program. It was a helpful process to look at our campus through the lens of defensible space enhancement.”
-St. Rose School
Click the map above for a larger view of the DSI Grant recipients.
2022 Wildfire Season Staffing Grant - $6 Million
In June 2022, the OSFM launched the $6 million Wildfire Season Staffing Grant. Local fire agencies were able to apply for up to $35,000 in one-time funding to hire extra staff and increase staff hours during the 2022 wildfire season.
The goal was to keep fires small and prevent them from impacting communities. During the application period, 180 agencies from across Oregon received a grant.
This investment proved successful during the wildfire season. Many agencies across the state shared stories of how these funds positively impacted their community and the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System.
To share more about the grant's success, the OSFM created an ArcGIS StoryMap. These stories are just a fraction of those shared by the Oregon fire service.