Emergency Fire Response Outside the City of Ashland
The City of Ashland is bordered by Jackson County Fire District No. 5, and by areas not receiving structural fire protection. Although the Oregon Department of Forestry provides wildland fire protection in these areas, they do not provide structural protection. Fire suppression response out of district is governed by City Council policy in accordance with State law.
- ORS 476.280 authorizes the City Council to give authority to the Fire Chief to respond into unprotected areas to suppress fires when such fires cause or may cause undue jeopardy to life or property.
- ORS 478.310 authorizes a fire department to, upon request, respond outside the limits of its district to a fire or other public safety incident and to aircraft emergencies and other incidents on transportation routes.
- ORS 476.290 and 478.310 provide for a billing and collection of fire department response costs in accordance with a State Standardized-Cost Schedule adopted by Administrative Rule.
The State Fire Marshal has defined "Undue jeopardy to life and property" as meaning a threat and/or danger to the lives and/or property of persons residing inside the boundaries of the city or district and that the term be applied liberally in allowing Fire Chiefs' to intervene before an actual threat arises.
The City of Ashland is a signatory along with all the other cities and fire protection districts of the Jackson/Josephine County Mutual Aid Agreement. The agreement provides for automatic and/or mutual assistance for structural and wildland protection within fire districts and cities, and for wildland protection in "unprotected" areas outside the boundaries of fire districts or cities. Unprotected areas receive wildfire protection from the Oregon Department of Forestry or federal agencies.
There are various situations which may generate an out of city response. Situations which have been addressed by the City of Ashland in other policies include:
- Response under a mutual or auto-aid agreement.
- Response under the State Conflagration Act. This policy addresses two other situations which could result in an out-of-city response.
- Response to structure fires in unprotected areas. The City does not ordinarily respond to structure fires in unprotected areas. However, if a fire causes or may cause an undue jeopardy to the life, property or interests of the City of Ashland, the fire department may respond. Response under this situation is a judgment call requiring the prior approval of the Fire Chief, Assistant Chief or the Duty Officer.
- Response to wildland/urban interface fires in unprotected areas. The City does respond to these fires under agreement with Oregon Department of Forestry. The degree to which the City becomes involved in structural firefighting in these areas, is dependent on a system of established structural triage criteria. Response under this situation is a judgment call requiring the prior approval of the Fire Chief, Assistant Chief, or the Duty Officer.
POLICY STATEMENT: It shall be the policy of Ashland Fire & Rescue to not respond to fire emergencies outside of the City limits except under the following conditions:
- The terms of a mutual aid agreement approved by the City Council.
- The implementation of the State Conflagration Act.
- The discretion of the Fire Chief, or a representative of the Fire Chief, when a fire or other public safety incident causes or may cause a threat to the lives and/or property of persons inside the boundaries, or to the interests of, the City of Ashland.
It shall further be the policy of the City to bill for services provided in unprotected areas in accordance with the Ashland Municipal Code Chapter 15.28.
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