BEND, OR -- Deschutes County officials plan to meet next week with the Oregon Department of Forestry, to give input on the state’s revised Wildfire Hazard Map, formerly the Wildfire Risk Map. County Forrester Kevin Moriarty told commissioners Wednesday the new map has inconsistencies on classifications, “My biggest concerns are probably the areas ranked moderate with areas adjacent to it are ranked high and there doesn't seem to be any discernible difference in vegetation or location between those two... There are several communities that are split between high and moderate. And so, if you're managed at an HOA level, you're going to have certain tax lots that would be ranked high and certain that would be ranked moderate, that could cause issues within a neighborhood association or an HOA.”
Under a new Senate bill, properties in the Wildland Urban Interface boundary classified as high hazard will face more development regulations.
“I do find it fascinating that somebody who has hay fields and two incredibly large ponds here is considered high, you know, all the agriculture that I drive by, it's still in the top category,” said Commissioner Patti Adair, also raising concern about insurance companies setting rates based on the map, something prohibited by new state legislation.
Commissioner Phil Chang thinks it’s important for the county to provide input at next week’s meeting with the Oregon Department of Forestry, “Our job is to help them get all the variables and the analysis in the model right. And if they do get that right, then it'll show up as a more accurate mapping.”
Next Thursday’s meeting in Klamath Falls will include ODF, the State Fire Marshal, and Association of Oregon Counties.
There’s no firm deadline for finalizing the hazard map, but it’s expected to be next spring.