Oregon has launched a new statewide, interactive map to determine the risk level for wildfires. And you can even narrow it down to your neighborhood.
The Oregon Explorer Wildfire Risk Map is a project of the Oregon Department of Forestry and Oregon State University.
The Oregon Fire Chiefs Association says the tool can identify regions at highest risk for wildfire. That will allow prevention, preparedness and response efforts to be better concentrated where they need to be.
Areas in red are considered extreme risk. Orange is high risk and yellow is moderate risk. Light green and dark green are low risk and no risk, respectively.
“It’s incredibly exciting to see Oregon taking major steps in the right direction in preventing catastrophic wildfire,” Bend Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief of Operations Bill Boos said in a statement.” “After the past two fire seasons, the need to modernize the way we prepare for, and fight wildfire was tragically evident.”
In addition to an overall look at wildfire risk areas in the state, the map has a feature that allows the user to input a specific address or latitude and longitude.
A big question to be answered for home and property owners is will insurance companies increase rates due to this?
“They’ve already been doing risk mapping. Now it’s out in the public,” Boos said. “Now the public can see oh these are the areas of concern. And so it’s actually a win for everybody and it’s working together.”
The map was created after passage of Senate Bill 762 in 2021.
Defensible space regulations
The Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office says the map may also be used to identify homes and properties that could be subject to future defensible space regulations.
The development of the Oregon Defensible Space Code, which was part of SB 762, is still underway and is expected to be completed by December.
The fire marshal’s office says the code “may apply to properties that meet two requirements. First, the home or property must be in the wildland-urban interface and at high or extreme risk on the Oregon Wildfire Risk Map.”
Approximately 5% of properties in Oregon may fall under the new code, the fire marshal’s office said.