Within Ashland city limits, when building a new fence or replacing an old one, Ashland's Wildfire Safety Ordinance states that any fencing attached to a building or deck shall be made of noncombustible materials within five feet of the connection to the structure.
Fire science shows that the first five feet around structures should be free from all combustible material. In addition to fencing, this includes flammable vegetation and bark mulch. This increases the changes of a home's survival during a wildfire event.
As of October 18, 2018 Ashland's Wildfire Safety Ordinance includes all property within the City of Ashland under the Wildfire Lands Overlay.
A. Permitting. Permits, granted through Ministerial review, are required prior to installing any permanent fence or wall to ensure compliance with City standards. The property owner should obtain a property boundary survey where property boundaries are not otherwise identified. Where a development is subject to land use approval, the City may require installation of screening walls or fences as a condition of approval for development, as provided by other ordinance sections. A building permit may be required for some fences and walls, pursuant to applicable building codes.
B. Design Standards. Fences, walls, hedges, and screen planting shall meet the following standards,...(Click here for full ordinance AMC18.4.4.060)
... 8. Wildfire Lands Overlay. Fencing attached to a building or deck within the Wildfire Lands Overlay shall be made of noncombustible materials within five feet of the connection to the structure.
a. A fence with wood framing and steel mesh or other noncombustible infill panels shall be considered to comply with this section.
b. A metal gate, a minimum of three feet in width, that is installed within a wood-framed fence immediately adjacent to a building or deck shall be considered to comply with this section.
c. Existing wood fences that are to be retrofitted to attach to a new building, addition, or deck, subject to the General Fuel Modification Area standards per subsection 184.108.40.206.B, shall be retrofitted so the fence ends with a noncombustible material like masonry or metal to keep fire from spreading to the building or deck.
d. Combustible fencing materials may be permitted within five feet of a building or deck when the Staff Advisor, in consultation with the Fire Code Official, has determined the portion of the structure adjoining the combustible material is constructed with ignition-resistant building materials sufficient to reduce the spread of fire from the combustible fencing materials.
If you are applying for a Fence Permit and seek an exemption to “noncombustible fencing materials within five feet of the connection to the structure” (18.4.4.060.B.8), the following conditions will be reviewed by the Fire Code Official in order to grant an exemption. Items 1 and 2 must be met before a site inspection will be considered:
1. The portion of the structure adjoining the proposed combustible fence material must be constructed with ignition-resistant building materials sufficient to reduce the spread of fire from the combustible fence materials to the structure. If this isn’t the case, the exemption can be denied.
a. Noncombustible siding materials include masonry products, stucco, plaster, and cement board.
2. A noncombustible area must be established within 5 feet of the proposed fence connection to the structure in accordance with General Fuel Modification Area Standards in AMC220.127.116.11.B.2.
3. The proximity of any flammable vegetation listed on the City’s Prohibited Flammable Plant List will be considered. Depending on the height, width, and proximity to the proposed fence, this factor will be taken into account on an inspection only if the first two items are met.
4. The distance of the proposed fence to the structure’s eaves and eave construction
a. The susceptibility of proximal eaves to fire exposure from the combustible fence materials, considering the construction materials and techniques used in eaves and venting and distance between the fence and adjacent eaves.
Contact the Fire Adapted Communities Coordinator at 541-552-2231 for specific guidance and recommendations.
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