Fire in The U.S.

Section: 425
Section: 425

Frequently Asked Questions


Please call 541-482-2770 to see if you qualify for a burn permit. You need to be located in the City's Wildfire Hazard Zone and burning for wildfire fuels reduction purposes, OR burning State of Oregon listed noxious weeds anywhere within the City limits. If you fit either of those two categories, you can schedule a site inspection for your permit.

Burning is only allowed between March 1st and the beginning of summer fire season and for two weeks after the end of fire season in the fall.

Ashland Fire & Rescue's business office is open Monday through Friday 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM except for legal holidays.  Firefighters staff both fire stations 24 hours a day, seven days a week for emergency response.


Firewise USA is a national program created by the National Fire Protection Association that addresses the risks to homes from wildfire in the wildland/urban interface. It encourages local community-based solutions for wildfire safety, with the goal of reducing home ignitions due to wildfire. The Firewise USA program emphasizes homeowner responsibility and provides the framework for education dissemination, community partnerships, and local actions that support community wildfire safety efforts. Ashland Fire & Rescue is a working partner with the community to help establish and advise recognized Firewise USA program sites within Ashland.

See for more information about recent wildfire safety grant funding.

When an addition is made, the landscaping is assessed around the entire structure, not just the side the addition is taking place. This primary fuel break (defensible space) is 30ft of space immediately around the home and secondary fuel break can extend as far as 130ft-170ft depending on the slope of the lot. Creating and maintaining these zones will reduce or eliminate ignition hazards presented by vegetation (by thinning fire prone trees, creating spacing between tree canopies, removing and pruning trees and shrubs). Modifications may not be needed, may be small, or may be extensive depending on how firesafe the current landscaping is.


If nothing is done to change the structures or property, there is nothing that will be required of you from this ordinance. If any of the following changes occur, this ordinance will affect you:

Here's a link to "Requirements for Constructing Structures in the Wildfire Hazard Zone." See For partitions of lots/subdivisions, owners will have to provide and implement a Fire Prevention and Control Plan detailing vegetation/fuels reduction, as appropriate. The link above has information regarding "Requirements for Subdivisions, Performance Standards Developments, or Partitions."


As a new landowner in the WHZ, if nothing is done to change the structures or property, there is nothing that will be required of you from this ordinance. If any of the following changes occur, this ordinance will affect you:


-Increase the square footage of your home build more than 200 square feet OR build a new structure more than  200 square feet and need a permit. If either of these situations apply, you will need to comply with the primary and secondary fuel break standards.

-If you partition or subdivide your property, you will be required to prepare and implement a Fire Prevention and Control Plan which is includes fuels reduction on all parcels.

-If you are replacing 50% or more of the roof, the roof is required be a non-wood, Class A or B fire-rated roofing material.


Unfortunately, there isn’t a roof that is completely “fire proof;” however, with proper assembly of fire-rated materials, homeowners can lessen a fire’s spread and extend the amount of time it takes for a home to ignite. The roof is very vulnerable to fire because it is the largest surface area of your home. The exposed roof can trap embers and easily ignite a home. In a fire vulnerable area, use class A or B roofing materials.

Material Classification

Class A (This is the least combustible roofing material and the highest resistance to fire).
Brick Concrete
Tile Slate
Clay Asphalt
Metal Fiber-cement

Class B
Pressure-treated shakes and shingles

Class C (This is the most combustible roofing material and is much more vulnerable to fire).
Wood shakes and shingles
Particle board


No, there is not a fee associated with being in the WHZ.

If you are not adding an addition on your home or building a new structure over 200 square feet this ordinance will not affect your landscaping. The ordinance only affects new construction over 200 square feet that is being permitted through the City's Planning and Building Departments. The vast majority of citizens won’t be affected by this, though we encourage Ashland's residents to engage in preventative mitigation on their own and through our Firewise Communities program. 

Some changes required during new construction will be that shake roofs are not allowed, and incorporating only fire-resistant plants in the first 30 feet (depending on slope it could be larger). An secondary fuel break will be created from 30 feet to 130 feet (if applicable) from all structures with spacing requirements for fire-prone vegetation.

To see a list of fire-resistant plants visit,


An addition of 200 square feet or greater to a structure that requires a permit, including adding an additional floor; will prompt a landscaping inspection. Simply replacing an existing deck or patio with the same footprint will not require a landscaping inspection. Adding a new deck or patio will require an inspection.

Currently, there are no funds available to replace landscaping and wood roofing. However, there is a program through the City of Ashland called Water Wise. The new Water Wise Landscaping website is designed to inspire the creation of landscapes that incorporate native species and other water wise plants that are not only attractive, but are capable of using less water than traditional lawns. It serves as a virtual demonstration garden that showcases examples from local residents as well as provides useful information and resources on water efficient gardening concepts. The program assists with funding to remove your green-grassy area and replace it with a drought-resistant landscaping.
(Note: There are a few plants/trees on the native species list above that are fire prone.)

The goal is to get the WHZ expansion approved before the 2016 fire season. The current track is to bring a final version of the ordinance to the City Council in the beginning of April 2016. Study Sessions with the Wildfire Mitigation, Tree and Planning Commissions were completed in December 2016. Comments from these sessions are currently being compiled and a final draft ordinance will most likely be completed by the beginning of February 2016.

You can find a list of contractors and landscapers who have completed our Firewise landscaping class at:

You can find a number of fire-resistant landscaping resources at Resources include: 

The use of retail fireworks, sparklers, and sky lanterns are prohibited throughout the year within the City of Ashland. See Ashland Municipal Code 15.28-070(C). Ashland Fire & Rescue is asking residents to comply with the ordinance in an effort to reduce fires, injuries and the risk to our city’s natural resources. 
The use of any spark producing item which causes a fire is always prohibited. You can be held financially responsible for fire damage and the costs of fire suppression caused by negligent use of fireworks. 
There are three items commonly referred to as fireworks, but are considered "unclassified" items that Ashland residents may legally use:

All local Fire Districts are listed in the white pages under "Fire Departments" and their email addresses are available via their web sites included in on our links page.

If an addition of 200 square feet or more is is created, a fire official will perform an inspection to determine if there is adequate defensible space around the entire structure. When inspecting the landscaping, there are a few things that will be assessed: If any of these items are not present, removal of some vegetation will likely need to be completed before construction can begin.


There are two fire stations in Ashland.  Fire Station 1 is located at 455 Siskiyou Boulevard and Fire Station 2 is located at 1860 Ashland Street.


No, landowners who are being incorporated into the WHZ will not see a rise in taxes because of the WHZ expansion.

CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team. Our mission is to prepare citizens to respond effectively in disaster.

CERT trains residents to prepare their families and neighborhoods to mitigate, respond to and recover from disaster.

Our goal is to strengthen our community and make it more resilient neighborhood by neighborhood.

Our motto is "Neighbors Helping Neighbors."

Simple! Contact the CERT office via phone or email and we will get you enrolled in our next Basic Training Course. Upon completion of Basic Training you are eligible to become a member. You may participate in CERT General meetings as a guest until you complete Basic Training.

To view the CERT web page Click Here


The typical response between Ashland's two fire stations is divided by East and West of Mountain Avenue.  Fire Station 1 responds West of Mountain, and Fire Station 2 responds East of Mountain.

For response information regarding your particular address please call Ashland Fire & Rescue's business office at 541-482-2770


It is recommended that the Wildfire Hazard Zone (WHZ) be increased to include all of the City of Ashland. Doing so will enhance several elements of the fire safety strategy of the city. The City will be able to regulate roof coverings to those appropriate for a community adjacent to and containing wildland fuels. Currently flammable wood product roof coverings are allowed outside of the WHZ. The City will also be able to regulate landscape profiles for new construction that lend themselves to a low intensity fire behavior with far less spread potential. Currently vegetation that produces severe fire behavior and spread such as juniper, cypress, blackberries, and arborvitae are allowed unrestricted outside of the WHZ. Both roof coverings and hazardous landscape fuels were a major factor in the destruction of 11 homes in the 2010 Oak Knoll fire. Properties in wildfire zones are often the only ones that qualify for hazardous fuel mitigation grants that are developed. Expanding the WHZ would allow more properties to apply for grant funds to help with fuels reduction and creating defensible spaces.

Return to the Fire Prevention and Safety Page


In 2002, 79% of fires in the United States occurred in the home, resulting in 2,670 fire deaths. In the U.S., someone dies from a home fire every 197 minutes. One-half of all home fire deaths occur between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.. Children under age five account for 17% of these fire fatalities. To accurately assess levels of national fire safety in the United States it is helpful to make selected comparisons to other industrialized nations in Europe and the Pacific Rim. The U.S. and Canada continue to lead the world in fire deaths per capita. The U.S. has consistently maintained at least twice the European average, and is four to five times higher in the number of fire deaths than the lowest rates in Europe. The European public displays a greater awareness of fire risk than Americans, which is generally believed to be a result of their history. Having experienced war in their homelands during the last century, most citizens are painfully aware of its destructive effects. European attitudes toward fire prevention and public fire education are positive and have, in part, resulted in lower frequencies of fire and fire-related fatalities. European structures are viewed as family inheritances and are the result of stricter fire codes and more rigorous enforcement actions than in the U.S. Insurance companies in Europe play an important role in reducing arson and preserving the structural integrity of buildings. In many cases insurance coverage may not be provided unless building plans are approved by fire and building departments, and the quality of construction meets existing conditions. Arson-for-profit has been substantially reduced by requiring fire damaged buildings to be rebuilt on the same site as originally used. Heating systems, a primary cause of fire in the U.S., are required to be inspected quarterly in some European countries and certified for use by the homeowner. Hong Kong has over five million people occupying one of the most densely populated areas on earth, but has less fire fatalities than 57 of the 58 largest cities in the United States. Chicago's population is roughly one-half that of Hong Kong, however it has maintained three times the number of fire fatalities annually. Los Angeles sustains three times the number of fires annually than the city of Tokyo, although Tokyo holds four times its population. The New York City Fire Department answers more fire calls annually than the entire nation of Japan. One engine company in Cincinnati, Engine No. 5, answers a greater number of fire calls annually than the city of Nagasaki with a population of over 450,000. Clearly the basis for these disparities lies in the intensity of fire prevention efforts. In Japan, emphasis is placed on individual responsibility for care and awareness. The Japanese have targeted the home for the bulk of their fire safety educational efforts. Japanese fire departments routinely assign 10 to 15% of their personnel to full-time prevention activities, compared to less than one percent in the U.S. The Japanese efforts also include school instruction, radio and TV broadcasts, media coverage of each structure fire, door-to-door distribution of fire safety instructional materials, women's and children's clubs and national campaigns. Hong Kong has instituted built-in safety in high-rise buildings where the majority of the population resides. These publicly subsidized housing projects incorporate extensive fire safety provisions and public fire education instruction. The people of Hong Kong display strong motivations toward fire prevention efforts and accept individual responsibility for fire safety. The Hong Kong Fire Department conducts approximately 140,000 fire inspections annually, with three-quarters of these based on citizen complaints. Obviously, the variances in fire protection practices among nations are the result of differences in climate, geography, history, customs, political systems, and other socio-economic characteristics. The question we must ask ourselves is in regard to the transferability of these practices into the U.S. In large measure, the current residential fire fatality experience within the U.S. could be reduced by the installation of fire detection and extinguishing systems currently available. The greatest limitation to successful fire rescue efforts by the fire services is detection and response time. Often these two critical elements are not under the complete control of the fire service. Early detection, coupled with automatic fire sprinkler protection, can do more in the first few minutes of a fire emergency to safeguard lives and property than can a prompt response by the local fire department. A thorough review of the most recent fire loss statistics in the U.S. suggests that an aggressive public fire prevention and education program, in conjunction with improved fire and safety provisions in buildings, can substantially reduce the tragic loss of life and property due to fire and its effects. A common thread which weaves through what we know about America's fire problem suggests one important principle: fire safety is a community responsibility. It is a responsibility requiring the cooperation of citizens, property owners, engineers, contractors, policy makers and fire department personnel. Fire safety efforts begin at home -- where all of us live and where 80% of our fire deaths occur.

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