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Agendas and Minutes

Wildfire Safety Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wednesday, August 12, 2015
11:00AM to 1:00PM
Conference Room, Ashland Fire Station #1
455 Siskiyou Blvd
Meeting called to order at 11:03AM
Greg Lemhouse, Vicky Sturtevant, Tim Bewley, Bruce Moats, Alison Lerch, Ron Parker, Chris Chambers, Frank Betlejewski (FLC), Margaret Basset-citizen
III. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: June 10th 2015 (No minutes from July 8th due to lack of quorum); Tim: Motion to approve minutes, pending changes with acronyms and tone and a few clean up items. Bruce 2nd. All in favor.
The fire restriction press release from July 31, 2015 needs to be more specific to reflect the intention of mowing green lawn.  The wording makes it sounds like you cannot use equipment to reduce fuels in irrigated areas. Chris explained that the intent is not to restrict chainsaw use and equipment use on irrigated lands.  You can use electrical equipment regardless of the restrictions and the restrictions are for gas powered equipment.  You can get a permit to operate if you are a business.  The general public and business have a different set of regulations.  Future restrictions should include new language that outlines the difference between public vs. business equipment use during fire season.  This could be updated in the Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP).  Regulations are an important public education and awareness piece.   
ACTION ITEM: Include a map with the updated fire restrictions. Chris or Margueritte will update the council about this issue.
The social chapter for the Ashland Forest Plan is mostly complete.  Frank will pass a draft copy of that chapter to the Wildfire Mitigation Commission (WMC) by the end of the week.
Margaret is new to Ashland and interested in what this group is doing.
  1. Wildfire Hazard Zone (WHZ) Expansion Proposal Review
    1. This effort is in the hands of City Planning.  Greg will talk with the council about moving this up on the priority list.  Wildfire danger exists well beyond the current WHZ and the update will include the entire city to reflect that. 
  2. WMC Recruiting
    1. Doug Kay will be joining the WMC in September.
  3. Ashland Fire & Rescue (AF&R) Updates
    1. Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC) meeting
      1. WFLC is a group of high level leaders from various public agencies, spearheaded by the undersecretary of agriculture and undersecretary of the interior, and are essentially responsible for implementing the Cohesive Strategy.  Their quarterly meeting was held in Ashland and it included a tour of the watershed and local presentations.  This was a direct result of Chris’s trip to D.C. Tim congratulated Chris on this huge effort.  The mayor was honored by Tom Tidwell, Chief of the Forest Service, for the city’s efforts in implementing the Cohesive Strategy.  This provides the WMC some inspiration and incentive to continue our efforts, and confirmation that Ashland is on the radar.
    2. Firewise Communities
      1. We currently have twenty-two Firewise Communities and are working on six more.  Two out of the six communities are just about complete with the process and four are on their way with community meetings being scheduled in September.  Alison has prospective communities to reach out to in Park Estates, Beach Ave, and Timberline Terrace. 
    3. Community Assistant Grant
      1. Co authored by Chris Chambers/Ashley Lara community assistance grant with the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF).  They applied for the maximum $250,000, ODF takes about half.  We should be hearing on this any day.  You do not have to be in a Firewise community, but it is encouraged.  This is similar to the biomass grant from last year.  When/if this becomes available we will advertise.  Southwest Oregon received this grant last year so it is not a done deal.  Regardless, we are a great contender for 2016 grants.
        1. Question from Greg: Under Firewise Communities webpage, some of the communities have info and some don’t.  This needs to be updated to reflect all 22 communities.
        2. ACTION ITEM: Alison will work up updating the Firewise Communities page on the City of Ashland website.  
    4. Staff Changes/Expectations/Goals
      1. Alison is here, she will be part of the commission, an integral part of the CWPP update, as well as managing the Firewise Communities.  Alison’s position is not dependent on grant funding. 
  4. CWPP Update Timeline
    1. Set up a meeting with key Firewise community leaders/other groups
      1. WMC would like to create AD HOC committees to help with the CWPP update: 
        1. City Leaders/Ashland Coalition Committee: Vicky has been talking with Sandra Slattery of the Chamber of Commerce.  We would like to host a lunch. We need buy in from the City, SOU/President, OLLI, Chamber of Commerce, Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF), YMCA, Ashland School District, Hospital Members: Tim, Greg & Vicky
        2. Firewise Communities Committee: Have a BBQ, ask questions about “What’s worked? Successes? Ideas for CWPP? Members: Doug, Ron
        3. Technical Risk Assessment Committee: Utilize Jackson County risk assessment, and scale it back to the Ashland community level. Take a look at critical protection areas for Ashland besides just the homes.Members: Hugh Holden, Vicky, Frank
        4. Social Assessment Committee: Work with Social Ecology as they are completing a community survey. Members: Vicky, Tim
        5. AGENDA ITEM FOR SEPTEMBER: Finalize WMC “Talking Points” for distribution to the AD HOC committees     
    2.  Frank is presenting the Ashland Forest Plan update timeline to the City. Overlapping areas: Social chapter that is 40 pages long; Risk Assessment: Open forest lands currently have risks associated with them (172 acres/9 parcels of city owned).  Vicky mentioned it would be useful for Frank to work with the Risk Assessment AD HOC
    3. CWPP timeline is tabled until September meeting
  5. Social Ecology Quarterly Update (Trish)
    1. Talked to 106 people so far, 59 female 47 male, 22-90 years old.  Overall, when the topics of “fire/fire safety” were brought up, they would get minimum responses.  They now use “wildfire” in their conversations and people are more responsive.  Trish believes there is genuine interest in wildfire. Awareness about Firewise or defensible space seemed low, but there is interest in knowing more about the program. If anyone on the WMC is interested in going out with Social Ecology, ask Vicky for Trish’s phone number.
  1. Next meeting September 16, 2015
  2. Save the Date August 30, 2015 3:00 PM
In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, if you need special assistance to participate in this meeting, please contact the Public Works Office at 488-5587 (TTY phone number 1 800 735 2900). Notification 48 hours prior to the meeting will enable the City to make reasonable arrangements to ensure accessibility to the meeting (28 CFR 35.102-35.104 ADA Title I).

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