HB 4054A Creates Defensible Spaces for Mitigating Wildfires

VOTE: NO – Died In Committee
Status (overview) of bill: https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2020R1/Measures/Overview/HB4054

This bill requires Forestry with OSU to analyze regional wildfire risk, and requires Land Conservation and Development to organize a Land Use and Wildfire Policy Advisory Committee to report on mapping needs and recommendations for using the statewide land use planning program, local governments, and building codes to minimize wildfire risk. Directs the Governor’s Council on Wildfire Response to develop a sustainable model for comprehensive wildfire strategy funding, and direct the Oregon Department of Energy to determine whether renewable energy generation is a feasible means for disposing of materials from wildfire fuel load reduction projects.

Personal Choice and Responsibility
This type of land restriction will drive farmers and ranchers off of their property, which will impact the economy. It will make Oregon an unfriendly state to move to. This wildfire protection plan is the an invasive land-grab and strips property owners of their constitutional rights.

Fiscal Responsibility
Appropriates General Fund, the amount of $350,000, which may be expended for carrying out DLCD activities, $100,000 for Forestry, $50,000 for OSU, $61,900 for Energy, $56,900 for personnel, and $5,000 for committee costs.

Limited Government
Continues the Governor’s Council on Wildfire Response as the Governor deems appropriate to assist state and local agencies and officials to oversee and assist in the implementation of wildfire risk reduction programs reported in their November 2019 recommendations 3, 4, 34, and 37 without public hearing or legislative approval. The Council report concluded that some or all of the current models are not sufficient to ensure Oregon is prepared for increasingly severe wildfire seasons. Requires the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) to oversee and coordinate the development and maintenance of a comprehensive statewide map of wildfire risk that is sufficiently detailed to allow assessment of wildfire risk at the property-ownership level. Identifies statewide land use planning program and to local building codes appropriate to minimize wildfire risks, including, but not limited to, provisions regarding sufficient defensible space, safe evacuation, adequate access for wildfire fighting equipment and personnel. Establish different minimum defensible space requirements for homes and infrastructure on different types of land and apply statewide for all lands of that type that are in areas susceptible to wildfire. Requires Energy to study whether renewable energy generation is a feasible means for disposing of materials from wildfire fuel load reduction projects.

Local Control
Reduces local control requiring DLCD to establish minimum standards for city and county wildfire risk reduction planning and zoning, and to provide technical assistance and resources to cities and counties to implement and maintain wildfire risk planning and zoning, and to develop wildfire risk mitigation standards. This new authority will allow them to clamp down even further on rural Oregon and drive everyone into cities under the guise of “wildfire risk management”. The legislature should demand that maps be developed and approved before they even start talking about additional restrictions on property owners and requiring counties to do their dirty work.

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