Status (overview) of bill: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2020R1/Measures/Overview/SB1536
This bill requires electric companies to operate in compliance with risk-based wildfire protection plan. Requires development and maintenance of comprehensive statewide map of wildfire risk restricting land use by rules. Requires county to assist landowners and jurisdictions to form, expand or change boundaries of jurisdiction that provides wildfire protection.
Personal Choice and Responsibility
Rural property owners are at risk to having their property labeled, taken and restricted as a wildfire risk.
Provides no funding for counties to carryout requirement to ensure that all lands within the county that are susceptible to wildfire are provided with wildfire protection services at the baseline level or a higher level.
Directs the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) to create a “statewide map of wildfire risk”, and develop rules that limit or prohibit all land uses in those areas, and every county will be required to implement these new rules. DLCD has a 45 year track record of opposing rural development of any kind, commercial, industrial, natural resource or residential. 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.
The bill does not define what makes an area subject to wildfire risk, and gives that authority to DLCD to make up whatever they want. If their past behavior is any indication, there will be thousands of acres across the state that DLCD will label as wildfire risk areas that are really not, and all kinds of land uses that will be restricted or prohibited that don’t have to be. Restricting land use does not prevent wildfires, and may make it more susceptible to fires. This type of land grab was instigated when the 2019 session passed HB 2834A allowing mapping and restricting wildlife corridors, which we yet to see the outcome.