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Oregon Defensible Space Code

Based on robust stakeholder feedback from an earlier version of the wildfire risk map, the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) and other state agencies are revising their timeline for implementing key components of Senate Bill 762, including the wildfire risk map. 
The changes come as Oregon communities work to make their homes and neighborhoods more resilient to the increased risk of wildfire statewide.   

Revised Timeline

October - February 2023: State agencies will engage the public and stakeholders with outreach and education. This includes engaging with and informing Oregonians on safety measures to preserve life and property during wildfires. Agencies will conduct one-on-one outreach to areas most vulnerable to catastrophic wildfires and identify opportunities for investments in wildfire prevention. Completing language for building codes and defensible space standards. The ODF will review appeals received and share feedback received for wildfire risk map adjustments as needed.   

March 1, 2023: The ODF will launch a new draft wildfire risk map and state partners will solicit feedback from stakeholders and the public.  

March 2023 - September 2023: State agencies will host public outreach, engagement, and education on the draft wildfire risk map. This includes working with the ODF, the OSU College of Forestry, local governments, planning departments, the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM), and the Building Codes Division (BCD) to review the draft map. These agencies will outreach to and educate the affected communities and local governments.

October 2023 - December 2023: The final wildfire risk map will be shared publicly for implementation, initiating a 60-day appeals process, and notifying those in most high-risk areas about the steps needed to protect their homes and properties from catastrophic wildfires and how to meet standards and building codes. The revised plan and timeline will be done in collaboration with Oregon State University’s College of Forestry, the OSFM, the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, and the Department of Consumer and Business Services.

Research by the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety shows that simple steps can be taken to better protect homes and communities when wildfires occur. Some steps include creating defensible space, home hardening, and large-scale fuel reduction projects. Senate Bill 762 directs the state to ensure communities identified in the highest-risk areas are adhering to building codes and defensible space standards guided by public input. These building codes and standards will not be adopted or implemented until the wildfire risk map is finalized in late 2023. The OSFM will offer funding to support communities in creating defensible space programs and support landowners to complete the work.   

Oregon Defensible Space Code Development Process

Under Senate Bill 762, the OSFM is mandated to adopt statewide minimum defensible space standards. The OSFM is using its current code development and adoption process. Development is underway and additional meetings will be announced here. Agencies, interest groups, and individuals are welcome to provide input during the adoption process. 

The OSFM and stakeholders are following the established code adoption process using the International Wildland-Urban Interface Code model language, using sections 603 and 604 per the Senate Bill 762 mandate. Upon adopting the new Oregon defensible space standards, the OSFM will reevaluate every three years and follow the same systematic policies and practices in place for the Oregon Fire Code.

Based on the language in Senate Bill 762, the standards will be completed by December 2022. The timeline for when the standards will go into effect is dependent on when the final version of the wildfire risk map is released by the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Wildfire Risk Map

The map was withdrawn on August 4, 2022, and an updated version will be released on March 1, 2023. The map was developed by Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Forestry.

If your home or business is in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) and at high or extreme risk, you may be subject to the defensible space standards. Homes and businesses not in the WUI and at high or extreme risk are not subject to the standards. 

The OSFM recommends home and business owners at high or extreme risk but not in the WUI follow defensible space best practices. Wildfire does not recognize map boundary lines.

Building Codes Division

The Building Codes Division (BCD), is developing rules to:

  • Amend the current Oregon Residential Specialty Code (ORSC) Section R327 to apply to all new dwellings and the accessory structures of dwellings in extreme and high wildfire risk classes in the wildland-urban interface.
  • Amend the current Oregon Residential Specialty Code (ORSC) Section R327 to extend wildfire hazard mitigation building code standards to apply to existing dwellings that are replacing exterior elements of the structure.

These changes will be effective Oct. 1, 2022, and mandatory on April 1, 2023. For more information, click here.

Partner Agency Contacts

The OSFM can answer questions about the defensible space standards and best practices. For other elements related to SB762, different state agencies are the expert. To contact the OSFM, email SB762@osp.oregon.gov

The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) maintains the wildfire risk map. ODF can answer questions about risk level, map layers or statistics, and the risk appeal process. To contact ODF, email sb762.rulemaking@odf.oregon.gov.

The Building Codes Division (BCD) within the Department of Consumer and Business Services develops new rules and codes for buildings. BCD can answer questions about home building codes and code development. To contact BCD, email bcd.info@dcbs.oregon.gov.

The Division of Financial Regulation (DFR) oversees insurance best practices. DFR can answer questions about insurance best practices, support with insurance claims, and insurance research. To contact DFR, email DFR.InsuranceHelp@oregon.gov.

Oregon State University (OSU) created the wildfire risk map in partnership with the ODF. They manage the data and the map interface on the Wildfire Risk Explorer. OSU can answer questions about data and the wildfire risk explorer. To contact OSU, email osuwildfirerisk@oregonstate.edu

Grant Opportunities

The OSFM is working to develop grant programs to help with defensible space projects. To learn more, click here.

Helpful Documents

Wildfire Risk Map FAQ
Defensible Space Standards FAQ
How does defensible space really work?
Defensible Space FAQ
Fire Resistant Plant Guide
Partner Agency Contacts

Town Hall Meetings

Virtual Meetings - Links will be posted here
9-10:30 a.m. - Tuesday, October 4
5:30-7 p.m., Wednesday, October 5
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., Thursday, October 6

In-Person Meetings
Tuesday, August 2

  • Ashland, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., Ashland High School, 201 S Mountain Avenue
  • Medford, 5:30 - 7 p.m., Hedrick Middle School, 1501 E Jackson Street
Wednesday, August 3

  • Grants Pass, 5:30 - 7 p.m., Grants Pass High School Gym, 830 NE 9th Street
Thursday, August 4
  • Roseburg, 5:30 - 7 p.m., Public Safety Center in the Umpqua room, 700 Douglas Ave.

Tuesday, August 9

  • Eugene, 5:30 - 7 p.m., University of Oregon, 240A McKenzie Hall, 1101 Kincaid St.

Tuesday, August 16

  • Sunriver, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., Three Rivers School Gym, 56900 Enterprise Drive
  • Bend, 5:30 - 7 p.m., Sky View Middle School Cafeteria, 63555 NE 18th Street

Wednesday, August 17

  • Sisters, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., Sisters Fire Community Room, 301 S Elm Street
  • Prineville, 5:30 - 7 p.m., Crook County High School Auditorium, 1100 SE Lynn Blvd
Thursday, August 18
  • Madras, 5:30 - 7 p.m., Madras Performing Arts, 412 SE Buff Street

Tuesday, August 30

  • Detroit, 5:30 - 7 p.m., Detroit Lake Community Center, 345 Santiam Ave W

Wednesday, August 31

  • Albany, 5:30 - 7 p.m., Linn County Fairgrounds - Conference Rooms 1-3, 3700 Knox Butte Road

Tuesday, September 6

  • Wilsonville, 5:30 - 7 p.m., Wilsonville Public Library - Oak Room, 8200 SW Wilsonville Rd

Monday, September 12

  • Hood River, 5:30 - 7 p.m., Hood River Inn - The Gorge Room, 1108 E Marina Way

Tuesday, September 13

  • The Dalles, 5:30 - 7 p.m., Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum - MJ Murdock Theater, 5000 Discovery Drive

Wednesday, September 14

  • John Day, 5:30 - 7 p.m., Canyon City Community Hall – 2nd floor theater, 129 S Washington St, Canyon City

Thursday, September 15

  • Burns, 5:30 - 7 p.m., Harney County Fairgrounds - Memorial Building, 69660 South Egan Ave
Additional virtual meetings to be announced

Public Comment

To provide public comment, complete this form.

Defensible Space Code Public Meetings

To read minutes or watch recordings from meetings, click the link above.




Contact

Chad Hawkins
Assistant Chief Deputy
Fire & Life Safety Services
503-934-8252
chad.hawkins@osp.oregon.gov