- Oregon contains approximately 6 million acres of mostly private lands that have no one individual, organization, or agency responsible for fire prevention and suppression actions. Wildland fires in these areas have burned adjacent landowner resources, structures, and improvements; threaten public safety; and have other impacts on residents and the general public such as closing highways. While many of these fires remain small and have limited impacts, several have become large, damaging, and expensive fires to suppress. An incomplete record of fires involving unprotected lands exist, but since 1996, there have been at least 120 fires that have burned over 240,000 acres with suppression costs approaching $9 Million. After removing 4 large, expensive fires, the average suppression cost for the remaining 117 fires was $8,400. In addition, this working group was originally tasked with looking into a related issue associated with structural fire protection. Since that time, the Governor’s Fire Service Policy Council established a parallel effort to address the issue of continuing to provide catastrophic fire protection to communities outside a structural fire jurisdiction. Some additional discussion related to the connection between these two efforts will occur in this document, but will be considerably less than originally envisioned. Due to this parallel effort, the primary focus of this paper is on wildland fire protection.
Environment and Conservation,
Oregon Department of Forestry,
Institute for Natural Resources,
Bureau of Land Management,
Oregon State Legislature,