Review of Oregon's comprehensive wildfire policy successes and failures following the 2020 Labor Day Fires
Abstract: With the increased severity and intensity of wildfires in the Pacific Northwest due to shifting weather and forest conditions, the 2020 wildfire-focusing event created a policy window for Senate Bill 762. The comprehensive wildfire bill, enacted in June 2021 with bipartisan support, outlined 15 objectives to modernize and improve Oregon's wildfire preparedness. One of the first objectives to complete was a statewide wildfire risk map designed to inform preceding sections of the bill. In June of 2022, the Oregon Wildfire Risk Map was published by Oregon State University in collaboration with the Oregon Department of Forestry; however, following a significant media response and appeal process, the map was promptly taken down in August 2022. The considerable reaction among impacted communities demonstrates apparent disparities in public knowledge, perceptions, and attitudes towards Senate Bill 762, thus hindering the state's efforts to implement sections 7 through 12. By applying a policy failure framework and using a mix-method approach, this research seeks to; (1) explore public perceptions and attitudes towards defensible space and home hardening regulations in communities impacted by Senate Bill 762; (2) understand any barriers and opportunities experienced by the primary public-facing agencies and institutions in implementing SB 762 thus far; and (3) Identify possible avenues for reconciliation among selected stakeholders and impacted communities.
Committee Members: Erika Allen Wolters (Chair), Mindy Crandall, and Hilary Boudet
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