Areas of Ashland could become a wildfire hazard zone

, Written by Travis Koch, Posted: Thu, April 17 2014 at 2:22 PM, Updated: Fri, April 18 2014 at 9:09 AM

Ashland, Ore. -- Ashland Fire & Rescue is hoping to pass an ordinance, rezoning the entire city as a wildfire hazard zone.

The change means new applications for significant remodels or new construction would have to follow fire safety requirements, such as certain plants or building materials.

Looking back to 2010, fire officials said the 2010 Oak Knoll fire serves as the perfect example as to why the change needs to happen. In 2010, an out of control grass fire jumped interstate five, burning eleven homes- many to the ground. AFR says the weather conditions were just like any other summer day but blame shake rooftops and dry fuels for causing the flames to spread.

A recent survey by AFR divided the six square-mile town into sixteen areas. 14 of those areas were considered at the same risk as the Oak Knoll area or worse.

"What we found when we did that, is that there are hazards all of Ashland, it's not just what we think of on the hill as the wildfire area. It's our job to be proactive and present those options to the city council."

With the impending threat of further drought and increased fuels this summer, Forestry Division Chief, Chris Chambers says it's a must.

"It's our responsibility to bring these types of proposals to the city council." Chambers said.

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About the Author

Travis Koch

News at Sunrise Co-Anchor Travis Koch started his career as a filmmaker. He wrote and directed documentaries about traveling and extreme sports.

Among his many life experiences, he was a dog musher in Alaska and a baker in Minnesota. Travis began his career at NBC5 News as a weekend photographer and has continued to follow his dreams in television broadcasting and multimedia.

Catch Travis co-anchoring with Jennifer Elliott weekdays on NBC 5 News at Sunrise starting at 5:30am.

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