The Oregon Department of Forestry has taken down its latest version of its Wildfire Risk Map after receiving backlash from nearly 2,000 Oregonians.
Many of the complaints surrounded a concern that the map would cause insurance rates to increase for those in higher risk areas.
Sunriver resident Bill Worden said he’s done everything he can on his property to lower the wildfire risk to his house. But on the wildfire risk map, he was still at the same risk as other properties that had not taken precautionary measures.
“The problem that I have with it is they’ve done that by satellite imagery and potentially talking to other people, but they’ve not done a real boots-on-the-ground assessment,” said Worden.
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ODF says it based the risk classifications on weather, climate, topography and vegetation.
“What someone has done on their home with their own vegetation doesn’t necessarily impact that risk classification as much as proximity to troubling topography and weather and climate patterns that are conducive for wildfire occurring,” said Derek Gasperini, public affairs officer for ODF.
Worden says he believes he believes his efforts on his property should be considered.
He cleared the latter fuels, cut down 11,000 trees on his 15-acre property, put physical distance between his home and vegetation with wide walkways and pavement and built his house out of cement and metal.
Even with these steps taken, Worden’s classification may not change.
“There probably will not be large scale changes,” said Gasperini.
ODF says it will take weeks, maybe a couple months, to asses the hundreds of appeals it received and to release another version of the Wildfire Risk Map.
It will also hold a community information session in Redmond at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds next Wednesday.