After fuel reduction treatment is complete, landowners are encouraged to return their self-certification form to ODF. This form protects landowners against being billed for certain firefighting costs should a fire subsequently occur on their property.
Self-certification forms are mailed by ODF to the owners of lands affected by SB 360. Certification forms are mailed to landowners every 5 years. Landowners in Jackson County will receive new self-certification forms this winter. Josephine County landowners were mailed self-certification forms in fall 2008, and will receive new ones in 2013.
A property owner may have a liability for certain fire suppression costs if:
- Required fuel reduction work is not done and a self-certification form is not received by the Oregon Department of Forestry prior to the start of a fire, AND
- The fire originates on the property, AND
- The fire spreads through parts of the property where fuel-reduction should have been done, AND
- The Oregon Department of Forestry uses fire suppression resources not regularly budgeted to suppress the fire
To date, no landowner in Oregon has been billed for fire cost recovery under the Oregon Forestland-Urban Interface Fire Protection Act.
In most cases, fuel reduction treatment needs to be done within 50 feet of a home or other structure. Fuel reduction treatment does not need to extend beyond property lines, and in most cases mature, healthy trees need not be removed. Most of the fuel reduction treatment under SB 360 focuses on reducing thickets of brush, such as blackberry and Manzanita; removing dead vegetation; and moving firewood and lumber piles away from homes during the months of fire season.
Fuel reduction treatment is not required on unimproved lots.
Fuel reduction treatment around homes has proved effective in protecting homes against wildfire damage or destruction. Wildfires in 2009 threatened homes in south Ashland, east Medford, and the community of O’Brien in southern Josephine County, and because of fuel-reduction treatment around homes firefighters were able to keep losses to a minimum.
Information about the Oregon Forestland-Urban Interface Fire Protection Act is available online at http://www.swofire.oregon.gov/, or by calling or visiting these Oregon Dept. of Forestry offices:
ODF Medford Unit
5286 Table Rock Rd
ODF Grants Pass Unit
5375 Monument Dr