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Oregon Defensible Space

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Let's Create Defensible Space

Defensible space can make a significant difference during a wildfire, offering your home or business protection from embers that can travel several miles from the actual firefront and the fire itself. Embers are the leading cause of home loss during a wildfire. They can travel up to three miles ahead of the large flame front.

Defensible space is the buffer you create between your home or business and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any wildland area that surrounds it. Items to consider are plants, landscape arrangement, and outdoor furniture. This gives embers or flames fewer options to latch onto and ignite.

Click the images below to explore how defensible space and tips to help give your home some protection against wildfire.

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Oregon Defensible Space Code Development

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. 

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 code, the OSFM will evaluate every three years and follow the same policies and practices in place for the Oregon Fire Code.

The code language is in a final draft for review. The code is expected to go into effect in late 2023.

For questions about the code language, email osfm.defensiblespace@osp.oregon.gov

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In 2022, the OSFM held series of 20 town hall meetings focused on the Oregon Defensible Space Code and defensible space best practices. Meetings were held in Ashland, Medford, Grants Pass, Roseburg, Eugene, Sunriver, Bend, Sisters, Prineville, Madras, Detroit, Albany, Wilsonville, Hood River, The Dalles, John Day, and Burns.

Roughly 2,000 people attended the meetings. The OSFM received robust feedback and input to help guide the development of the code.

View the video and PowerPoint presentation of a virtual town hall presentation held October 4, 2022. 

Town Hall Resources | Town Hall Follow-Up News

Fire-Adapted Organizations and Programs

Many organizations and programs are working to create fire-adapted communities in Oregon: 

Firewise USA®, a program by the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), provides a collaborative framework to help neighbors get organized, find direction, and take action to protect their homes and communities and reduce wildfire risk locally. Learn more here and find a Firewise community near you. 

The Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), created by the Healthy Forests Restoration Act, helps communities collaborate with federal and state land agencies to achieve common goals and tackle often-controversial issues. Communities with CWPPs have priority for Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management hazardous fuels reduction projects. 

Project Wildfire is a Deschutes County community organization that facilitates, educates, disseminates, and maximizes community efforts toward effective fire planning and mitigation. Learn more about the seven Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs) in Deschutes County, FireFree educational program, and more

Fire Adapted Oregon is an OSFM program grounded in statewide data, science, defensible space, and the community risk reduction framework. The initiative uses an integrated and strategic investment of resources to reduce fires and their impact on the public.

Wildfire Risk Map Update

Based on robust stakeholder feedback from an earlier version of the wildfire risk map, the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) and other state agencies revised their timeline for implementing key components of Senate Bill 762, including the wildfire risk map.

Contact

Leslie Neu
Defensible Space Program Coordinator
osfm.defensiblespace@osp.oregon.gov