Let your commissioners know that we don’t want these changes that eliminate fire protection requirements and place citizens at increased risk from wildfire.
We should all be concerned that the Josephine County Commissioners have proposed Eliminating all Fire Protection Requirements for dwellings in the county. Only building code requirements will need to be followed for new structures.
The proposed changes are unfortunate and reckless!!
Rural Metro Fire provides contract structural fire protection services in most areas of the county. This hasn’t changed since the closure of County Fire. Citizen’s safety and fire protection should be front and center. All I heard at the recent hearing were comments by commissioners saying, “I’m already paying a tax to ODF” and stating we have now a monopoly with only one fire department, and your structure is going to burn if response is over 10 minutes. Consideration was not given to the house burning and then next house, and next house and another.
ODF are wildland fighters, which has nothing to do with structural protection. They will not go into your house to save you, your pets, or your house. They don’t even have the equipment to do that.
The Wildfire and Safety Standards Ordinance should Not be revised. No data was presented on why change is needed and the revisions will lead to increased public safety hazards.
Please Attend upcoming Hearing and let the Commissioners know these changes are unacceptable!!
JPR by Roman Battaglia – January 31, 2024
Currently, all property owners outside of Grants Pass have to show proof they’re either in a fire district, pay for a private fire service or have the resources to fight a fire on their own. This change would also allow landowners to use wildfire protection from the Oregon Department of Forestry to meet that requirement. During a land use hearing on Tuesday, Commissioner John West argued ODF already provides wildfire protection for his property, and he shouldn’t need to pay for another private fire service to meet this requirement. “I might get protection faster than anybody could ever give me protection because they have the capability of getting to me quicker than anyone else would ever be able to get to me,” he said.
Steve Rouse from the land use group Rogue Advocates said during public comment that this change could lead to more fire risk in some areas. “If [property owners] don’t want to contract, they should at least have the ability to fight a fire on their property,” he said. “And if they don’t fight that fire, they don’t have the means, that fire is going to probably spread to the next door and the next door and the next door, whether they have fire protection or not.”
County commissioners argued these changes would make it easier for rural landowners to develop on their property and would recognize already-existing wildfire protections.ODF Public Information Officer Natalie Weber said the agency was not consulted over this proposal, but it wouldn’t change how they fight wildfires. She said ODF doesn’t have the capability to fight structure fires and will only respond if the fire has the potential to spread to wild lands. “Our fleet, our firefighters, they’re all trained for that wild land fire protection,” said Weber. “And we really do not cross over into structure at all.”