OSFM hosts ‘defensible space’ town hall in Ashland

ASHLAND, Ore. –In June, the Oregon Department of Forestry released the new “wildlife risk map”.


ODF is getting a lot of feedback from the public and on Tuesday residents in Ashland had a chance to voice their opinions during a town hall about defensible space.

The Oregon Office of State Fire Marshall made it clear that today’s discussion would be about the defensible space code.

Many residents had questions about exactly what “defensible space” means.

According to OSFM, defensible space is the buffer created between you and another structure by maintaining grass, trees and any wildland area.

But most people in Ashland wanted to discuss the wildfire risk map.

Oregon State researchers worked with ODF to identify the areas with the highest risk of wildfires as part of Senate Bill 762 passed by the legislature in 2021.

Several people spoke out and said they believe the risk maps will affect their insurance and property taxes.

“I want to know the credentials of the people who did the map since they are affecting my livelihood and I think those are fair questions, I know you cannot answer those,” one resident said. 

“First has to be this is bad legislation and it needs to be pushed back on in that regard,” another resident said. “There are people who have had their insurance policies not renewed already, that is enforcement punishment. That is financial consequences that are already happening.”

The OSFM said the goal of these town halls is to inform people about the Oregon defensible space code under SB 762 and how they can appeal any risk assessment.

There are 17 community town halls planned across Oregon.

Medford had its town hall meeting on Tuesday evening.

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NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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