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Lane Co begins forestland classification review for wildfire protection
by Oregon State Media, Inc.
Published on Tuesday April 5, 2016    4:54 PM     
 
The Forestland Classification Committee for Lane County will hold its first meeting April 11 in Veneta to kick off a review of lands within the county to determine which should be classified as forestlands. The Oregon Department of Forestry's Western Lane District provides wildfire protection services to forestlands in the county, and a Forest Patrol Assessment on protected lands helps fund firefighting.

To facilitate this process, the Lane County Commission recently authorized and appointed a classification committee made up of members of the public, the State Fire Marshal's Office, the Oregon Department of Forestry, and the Oregon State Extension Office. Forestland classification for the purpose of wildland fire protection occurs at the county level. Classification changes do not increase ODF's fire budget. Rather, the classification review will help ensure that protection costs are fairly distributed. Typically, a review will result in removal of some lands from forest classification and addition of others, in response to land-use changes.

The committee will examine all lands within the county, classifying lands as "forestland" or "not forestland" according to fire risk potential, vegetation type (fire fuel), community structure, and proximity to other forestland. The committee's efforts will help resolve issues pertaining to ODF's fire suppression role on forestlands and adjacent lands, and will become the basis for assessing the lands for the costs of wildland fire protection.

County landowners and the public will have opportunities at upcoming public meetings to learn more about the history, process and current status of the project. Upon completion of its work, the committee will present the results of the forestland classification project, identifying forestland in the county to be assessed for fire protection by the Oregon Department of Forestry.

The meeting will be held 9 a.m. Monday, April 11, at the ODF Western Lane District office, 87950 Territorial Highway, in Veneta.

More information on the Lane County forestland classification review can be obtained by contacting Tom Soward, Western Lane District, 541-935-2283.