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Hugo Neighborhood Association & Historical Society

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What Is The Capacity of Your Fire Hazard Area?

 

WHAT IS THE CAPACITY OF YOUR FIRE HAZARD AREA?

The past occurrence of catastrophic floods, fires, and earth slides indicates a continuing threat to residents of Josephine County. Mitigation of these natural and man-made threats is a function of public awareness of hazardous areas. Controls and restriction of development in these areas, provision of viable fire and other disaster services, and efforts to reduce hazards shall be encouraged.1

 November 3, 2003
 by
Land Use Committee
Hugo Neighborhood Association &
Historical Society
Member of the CACNA Coalition

Northern Josephine County Has Highest Fire Density In State

Wildfire is a critical issue for neighbors living in Hugo and the Merlin-North Valley areas of Josephine County, Oregon as it has the highest fire density in the county and in the State of Oregon, and the state is vitally interested.3 The individual impact from future human activities on individual lots to fire density is almost nothing when compared to the cumulative impacts of all the human activities from existing and future development. The Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF’s) position is that there is a high fire risk for 29,000 homes in Jackson and Josephine counties. What is the carrying capacity of the fire hazard area you live in to accept additional fire generators without harm to property and human lives?

"When reviewing development requests in high hazard areas, local governments should require site-specific reports, appropriate for the level and type of hazard... Such reports should evaluate the risk to the site as well as the risk the proposed development may pose to other properties." 4

The Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development should review the Oregon wildfire forest patrol information presently used in Josephine County by the ODF and treat it as an inventory per Oregon Statewide Goal 7.5

Forestland & Fire Hazard Areas

In Josephine County property is considered forestland and a fire hazard, and it will most likely be part of the forestland-urban interface, if land owners pay the $18.00 and/or the $38.00 state fire patrol special assessments.6

What is the long-term cumulative wildfire risk of all existing and future forestland lots, improved lots, and forestland-urban interface lots in the different wildfire hazard zones of Josephine County? A Wildfire Hazard Zone means a geographic area having a combination of hazard factors that result in a significant hazard of catastrophic fire over relatively long periods of each year [OAR 629-044-0200(9)]. We believe this question is applicable to Oregon Statewide Goal 7.7

Wildfire Carrying Capacity Analysis Of Fire Hazard Areas

Wildfire may start on an individual tax lot, but if it grows, it can move over its own unique landscape called a fire hazard area.

We recommend a wildfire carrying capacity analysis for all land use requests dealing with land divisions and the issue of incremental and continuous development proposals over a fire hazard area. The analysis would be for a applicable analysis area (i.e., fire hazard area) over a logical time frame (i.e., life of county comprehensive land use plan). It would be based upon reasonably predictable events (i.e., state population predictions and county comprehensive plan allocations). The last step of the carrying capacity analysis would be an evaluation (i.e., potentially significant impacts) of the adequacy or suitability (i.e., carrying capacity) of the Azalea/Merlin-North Valley/Hugo area to serve the proposed development by having a lack of development hazards such as extreme wildfire hazard.

More Information. Public awareness of hazardous areas is part of a county land use goal.1&2 Would you like to learn more about wildfire and citizen involvement in land use planning? Contact a member the Hugo Neighborhood’s Land Use Committee.

Disclaimer. This brochure is as much about providing information and provoking questions as it is about opinions concerning the adequacy of findings of fact and land use decisions. It does not provide recommendations to citizens and it is not legal advice. It does not take the place of a lawyer. If citizens use information contained in this paper, its their personal responsibility to make sure that the facts and general information contained in it are applicable to their situation.

1. Goal 6: Prevent Loss Of Life And Property Due To Natural And Man-Made Hazards. Josephine County. October 20, 2000. Josephine County Comprehensive Plan: Goals and Policies.
2. Article 76 - Rural/Wildland Fire Safety Standards. Josephine County Rural Land Development Code. October 2001.
3. OAR 660-015-0000(7) - Oregon Statewide Planning Goal 7: Areas Subject to Natural Hazards. Adopted September 28, 2001. Effective June 1, 2002.
4. OAR 660-015-0000(7), Guideline B.4. - Implementation.
5. OAR 660-015-0000(7)B. - Response To New Hazard Information.
6. Hugo Neighborhood Association & Historical Society. November 3, 2003. Is Your Property Forestland & In A Wildfire Hazard Zone? Hugo, OR.
7. OAR 660-015-0000(7)C.1., 2. & 3. - Implementation.
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2012 Hugo Neighborhood Association & Historical Society