JACKSON AND JOSEPHINE COUNTIES, Ore. (July 1, 2021) – Properties in Jackson and Josephine Counties that have recently been classified as forestland will begin receiving fire suppression protection from the Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest Oregon district today. Along with this protection service, ODF regulated use fire prevention restrictions also go into effect; the current fire danger level is high (yellow) and the IFPL is two (2). All current regulations are available on the district’s website, www.swofire.com/public-fire-restrictions/.
The Oregon Department of Forestry's Southwest Oregon District provides wildland fire protection services to forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties, funded by a Forest Patrol Assessment on protected lands. The Jackson and Josephine County Forestland Classification Committee was formed in 2017 to reassess private land in the counties through a process that was completed earlier this spring. Multiple letters were sent to the landowners of properties that were added in this process notifying them of the change.
Classification changes do not increase ODF's fire budget, rather, the classification review helps ensure that protection costs are fairly distributed. Those costs are then matched by the state’s general fund. In most cases, a review typically results in some lands being removed from forest classification and others being added. In the Southwest Oregon District, many of the new additions were already receiving fire suppression services, but had not been paying for it.
During the assessment process, the committee examined all lands within Jackson and Josephine counties, classifying them either as "forestland" or "not forestland" according to:
- Fire risk potential
- Vegetation type (fire fuel)
- Community structure
- Proximity to other forestland
The committee's efforts are helping to resolve issues pertaining to ODF's fire suppression role on forestlands and adjacent properties, and is the basis for assessing lands for the costs of wildland fire protection.
Landowners with questions about the assessment, regulations or general information can call the ODF office nearest them:
• Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd., Central Point. (541) 664-3328
• Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Dr., Grants Pass. (541) 474-3152