Episode 49: The Oregon Wildfire Hazard Map

Transcripts are AI generated, edited by Carrie Cantrell for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formatting.

Welcome to In the Woods: Exploring Forest Science and Management

Lauren Grand: From the Oregon State University's Extension Service, you are listening to In the Woods with the Forestry and Natural Resources Program. This podcast brings the forest to listeners by sharing the stories and voices of forest scientists, land managers, and enthusiastic members of the public. Each episode, we will bring you research and science-based information that aims to offer some insight into what we know and are still learning about forest science and management.

Stick around to discover a new topic related to forests on each episode.

Thank you for joining us on another episode of In the Woods. I'm Lauren Grand, Oregon State University Extension Forester, and Associate Professor of Practice, and I'll be your host for today's episode.

Diving Deep into Fire Hazard Mapping with Andy McEvoy

Lauren Grand: Today's episode is all about fire hazard mapping and how OSU is working with state agencies to map wildfire hazard for all properties in Oregon.

Joining me on the podcast today is Andy McEvoy, a faculty research assistant in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University. Andy's going to help us get to the bottom of this topic. Welcome to the podcast, Andy.

Andy McEvoy: Thanks so much, Lauren. It's a pleasure to be here.

Lauren Grand: Let's start by getting to know you a little bit better. Can you tell us about yourself and how you got involved in this fire mapping experience?

Andy McEvoy: Yeah, sure. It really is. It's great to be here and I appreciate the opportunity. yeah, like you said, I'm a faculty research assistant in the College of Forestry.

And I've been in that role for about three years now. Before coming to OSU, I had a short stint with the U. S. Forest Service at their Pacific Northwest Research Station. In Corvallis. And before that, I was getting my master's at Portland State University. And so, for about the six last six years or so the thread that ties all those things together has been my interest in wildfire risk and producing science and communicating science to different audiences around wildfire risk.

I really got interested in the subject when I moved here, I used to live in the Northeast. I lived in Maine where I was doing a lot more sort of traditional forestry. And when I moved to the Pacific Northwest, I wanted to find a way to pretty quickly get a sense of all the different types of communities that were engaged in natural resource issues, just to kind of get my grounding.

And it seems like fire was a great way to do that. And so that's where my interest started. And I It just quickly grew from there. And I got really fascinated with how we communicate risk around this really challenging, very uncertain event, right? There're wildfires so much more uncertain than other natural hazards.

Many other natural hazards anyways. And people have different perspectives about how to manage that risk and what to do with it. So, I was interested in that and have just been kind of pulling that thread for the past six years, and most of my work is focused on producing wildfire risk assessments for different landowners or land managers. And so, I helped Lead the update of the Pacific Northwest quantitative wildfire risk assessment, which guides investments and resources and management decisions, including fire response decisions across Oregon and Washington for a lot of our state and federal partners.

As part of that work, I got involved with my colleague Chris Dunn here at the College of Forestry in Oregon's wildfire hazard map, which is what we're really going to talk about today. So, yeah, my work is sort of all things, wildfire risk related.

Lauren Grand: Great. Well, it sounds like you have a good depth of knowledge in the role and in the topic.

So, I'm glad to bring you on to speak about this specific topic. Why don't we get deeper into this wildfire hazard map. So, what does, what Oregon need a wildfire hazard map for and what's it going to do for us?

Andy McEvoy: Yeah, that's such a good question. I'm happy to start at that place because it's nice to go back to the beginning and sort of remind ourselves of what's the motivation for this entire project.

And as much as I think while a map is going to help Oregon state agencies Achieve some of the goals, we've laid out really what Oregon needs is cohesive and strategic response to a changing wildfire environment. In the wake of the 2020 wildfires. Those are really some eye-opening events for people for obvious reasons.

They were catastrophic. They were deadly. Those fires were some of the largest fires that we've ever seen on the landscape in Oregon. And I think it really it, I think it helped Oregonians all across the state and sort of folks working in different levels get a keener sense of just what worst case scenarios can look like and who's affected by those, which is to say, it just really reminded everyone in Oregon that we're all living with some measure of wildfire risk.

And it might look different from one, part of the state to another, but we're all living with some measure of wildfire risk. And so, what we need is a cohesive response to that changing wildfire risk, right? As climate changes, as our landscapes change, as our communities evolve and change, we need this cohesive and strategic response.

And so that's really what we need. The map that we're going to talk about today is just a small, an important part, but just a small part of that sort of that broader strategic response. And so, to answer your question a little bit more directly though, the coming out of those 2020 wildfires Oregon Senate passed in a bipartisan fashion, Senate Bill 762.

And that really lays the groundwork for that kind of strategic response that I was talking about, right? So, we're on the path to creating that strategic response. I'm really happy to say that that legislation, SB 762 laid out a bunch of wildfire programs related to landscape resiliency prescribed fire, community wildfire risk reduction and a bunch of other wildfire risk related programs.

And It's in there. Specifically, it required OSU to work with the Department of Forestry to build this map. And the map is really designed to support two particular programs. There's the legislation created, or I guess, directed the state fire marshal to develop new defensible space codes and directed the Consumer Services Building Codes division to create new fire hardening codes and those codes, the defensible space in the fire hardening codes, are to be implemented in specific parts of the state with the highest hazard. And that's what the map is designed to do. The map is designed to give those agencies, the state fire marshal, and the building codes division a science-based foundation for deciding where to prioritize implementation of those codes.

And those codes, just to be clear, put a fine point on it, are directed at protecting America, protecting Oregon's communities. That's what we're trying to do.

Lauren Grand: Okay. So, the map is being created to identify maybe areas where there might be more hazard in order to focus those codes or the development of those codes in areas that at greater risk.

Is that right?

Andy McEvoy: Yes. Right. So, we want to make sure that, as part of that sort of strategic statewide response that we're investing our resources, our person power, our dollars, our education, and outreach resources to those communities where we can really affect the most positive risk reduction.

That's the goal, right? That's the strategic part of that. Of that plan. And so, the using hazard map as a filter for that is a way to identify those communities or those neighborhoods where we can most likely achieve that goal, right? We can have more confidence that we're putting again are putting our statewide resources to the places where we can affect that change.

That doesn't mean that. Places which are not prioritized have no hazard or no risk. It just means that, as a way to sort of really adapt to this rapidly changing fire environment and to curb some of the rapidly mounting risk, we want to emphasize certain areas more than others. It doesn't mean that those other regions in moderate or low risk are not also experiencing some hazard as well.

Lauren Grand: Okay, great. So that clears it up. Thank you.

Understanding Wildfire Hazard vs. Risk: A Detailed Explanation

Lauren Grand: And how is this wildfire hazard calculated? How can we know? What information is being used to be able to identify what's at higher risk and what's at lower risk?

Andy McEvoy: Yeah. So, I will get to that question. And, but first, I guess I want to I want to sort of hone in on some semantics here because they're really important.

It's not just a minute point. When the legislation was originally written in 2021, it directed OSU to build a statewide risk map. And then you know, we rolled out that map in the summer of 2022. We presented that map to the public, and there was a lot of pushback from the public. There were a lot of concerns from folks all across Oregon about that, and ultimately, the Department of Forestry rescinded that map.

And we went back into a process of coordinating with stakeholders, counties, the legislature, and others. I'm happy to talk about that more. But what came out of the back end of all that coordination with folks after the map was rescinded was something called Senate Bill 80. Senate Bill 80 made some important changes to the mapping process based on some of the feedback and concerns we'd heard when we initially rolled it out.

And one of the changes was a change in language from a statewide risk map to a statewide hazard map. And so, it might seem like just kind of semantics, but it really is an important difference That cements, I think, or clarifies what the intent of the map is. So, and this is going to answer your question here, Lauren, about how we calculate wildfire hazard.

Wildfire hazard is the product of two components, really. It's burn probability, so the average annual likelihood that a fire is going to occur in any given area or impact a given area, and then fire intensity. which we usually represent as flame lengths. The greater the flame lengths, the more intense the fire.

If we wanted to understand wildfire risk, we would also have to be able to quantify the unique characteristics, the defensible space and fire hardening characteristics. So, what the vegetation looks like immediately around the structure, what the structure is built out of, what materials, how well those are maintained, et cetera, we would have to be able to quantify those really specific characteristics and map those for all structures.

And we just don't have a data set to do that. That doesn't exist at a statewide level. So, we really can't capture the susceptibility component of risk. What we can do what we do have the science and the grounding to do really accurately is model burn probability and fire intensity. And so those are the components of hazard burn probability and fire intensity.

And they represent sort of the environmental factors that determine a structures hazard as a result of climate, weather, topography, and vegetation. So, what we're making is a wildfire hazard map. What we're calculating is wildfire hazard. And we acknowledge that we're not trying to capture wildfire risk.

And that's by intention. The motivation for the map is to provide our state agencies with the science-based information they need to prioritize their investments based on the landscape characteristics and the sort of regional climate patterns on the way those inform hazard.

And so, this approach does that by using a wildfire hazard map, we provide those state agencies with that information they can then prioritize around. So, we're making a hazard map, not a risk map. I just want to make sure that that's clear because that's a little bit different from the last time around.

Oregonians might have seen a risk map. But now We want to be clear that what we're presenting is map of wildfire hazard to folks. Does that. Is that clear.

Lauren Grand: Yeah, I think that's clear. And I think that it's interesting that you're sort of distinguishing what the landscape is doing in response to or in addition to the climate and how that is separated from how those things interact with actual structures on the landscape. So that's how I understood sort of understood the difference between how you were explaining hazard and risk. And that's why we couldn't really Use or keep the name risk was because that data was unavailable.

Is that correct?

Andy McEvoy: Yeah, it's Yeah, that's pretty accurate. And it's definitely because in part because we don't have a way to map and quantify those really specific structure specific characteristics. That's definitely part of it. But also, even if we did have that information.

What OSU was charged with doing in the legislation was characterizing the environmental hazard. The legislation is pretty clear. It tells Oregon State to use four criteria, climate, weather, topography, and vegetation. And those are the only four criteria that we're allowed to consider when making this hazard map and those things together, when we combine those and the science and data available to characterize those four criteria, what we're essentially doing is characterizing the environmental hazard on the landscape.

If we think about a different type of hazard, it can be helpful. If we think about earthquakes, for instance. Take, living in a seismic zone when they take the steps to invest in earthquake retrofits to their home, what they're doing is they're improving the likelihood that are increasing the likelihood that their home is going to survive the next earthquake event and protect their life and property, right?

Which is a really important thing to do. But those investments in seismic mitigations, they don't do anything to affect the likelihood of that earthquake happening in the first place, right? They don't affect that broader sort of landscape scale process in any way. And fire is really similar, right?

The great work that Oregonians are doing to protect their homes and their communities through defensible space and fire hardening and those sorts of programs. Those are all really, really important, but what our state agencies need to know in order to create this sort of prioritized and strategic response is what's the likelihood of fire on the landscape? And how's that fire going to behave? They need that big scale, that broad scale sort of picture of things to inform their decision making. And then those other attributes like defensible space and fire hardening, those get accounted for further down the line, if and when any kind of code enforcement is likely to happen.

Those characteristics would be assessed at that point. They don't need to be included in this hazard map.

The Process and Science Behind Creating Oregon's Wildfire Hazard Map

Lauren Grand: Okay, so speaking of sort of these environmental features and information that we have, can you talk a little bit more about, what OSU researchers are using in terms of those data sets and how it's being collaborated or combined with expertise and input into the map?

Andy McEvoy: Sure.

Lauren Grand: Yeah.

Andy McEvoy: Right. So, like I said wildfire hazard really comes down to two components, burn probability and fire intensity. And so, in order to calculate those for all properties in Oregon what we do is we use these simulation models. So, we take historical information about from real fires that have occurred across Oregon, dating back to 1992.

And we look at where those fires occurred, where they ignited, how big those fires got, what time of year they occurred. We look at the weather characteristics on a daily time step during the growth of those fires. And so, we create this picture of the relationship between and across the state the relationship between fire occurrence and fire behavior and climate and weather variables.

And we use that information to calibrate these simulation models. And simultaneously, we take some satellite data, some off the shelf data from land fire. A lot of your listeners might be familiar with land fire data that characterizes the fuels all across Oregon and fuels are a representation of vegetation and the way that vegetation might actually burn.

It helps us understand how fast a fire might spread, under what weather conditions fires might actually grow in that fuel type. how likely a crown fire is, those sorts of things. So, we take that off the shelf spatial fuels data. And then we worked with more than 50 fire and fuels professionals from across the state.

And they bring in their sort of, local knowledge on the ground knowledge about the landscapes and they adjust that off the shelf data. So, we're really leveraging best available science with practitioner knowledge. That's the idea. And so, we go through this three-day workshop of adjusting those fuels and we take that information that I described before about the relationship between fire and climate and weather and the information about that characterizes current fuels.

What the landscape actually looks like now. And we combine that information, these models, and then we simulate 10, 000 fire seasons. And that just means that we're feeding this model information about possible weather on any given day. And then determining whether or not based on that weather whether a fire occurs.

And then we track the growth of that fire in the computer. We sort of create these hypothetical fires all across the landscape, but we do that for 10, 000 plausible fire seasons. And that way we capture this full range of what could happen in any given year from really extreme, severe conditions to really mild fire seasons. And out of the back end of that, we get these estimates of how likely a fire is to occur in any given year. That's the burn probability piece and some measure of fire behavior, which is the intensity piece. How intense is the fire going to be based on those simulations when it occurs?

So, we're leveraging that best available science from land fire and other sources, satellite derived imagery with the knowledge of local fire and fuels professionals to do that modeling and produce those estimates. additional to that, there's another layer which is to say after we rolled out the map back in 2022, we got a lot of public feedback from folks about specific aspects of the map.

And we've been working with those different audiences for the past. than year and a half now to identify some of those issues and diagnose them. So, we've been working with county planners have been a really a huge help in this process and reviewing the data, offering feedback on it. Certainly, local land managers helped us diagnose a couple of the sort of observed anomalies or unexpected outcomes from that first wildfire risk map back in 2022. So, those might be, fire professionals. We worked with ranchers, ecologists, and range managers. Sort of hold like a whole group of subject matter experts that know their landscapes really well contributed to helping us diagnose the problem and then identify some possible solutions.

So, as we start to roll out an updated draft map, it includes again that best available science with that sort of first round of input from fire and fuels professionals on the fuels, but then it also includes observations from and feedback from county planners, local land managers and folks that know their landscapes that we've been working with over the past year and a half.

Lauren Grand: Awesome. It's really, yeah, it's really great to hear that there's been some consideration into the audiences that may have been concerned about, the released map in 2022 and that their voices are providing input into the map that's going to be released here shortly.

Andy McEvoy: Yeah, it's it was a really important part of the process.

Back in 2022, we were working, the OSU and all the state agencies under some really tight, legislatively determined timelines. And that was one of the biggest challenges. We couldn't overcome that hurdle. Ultimately, we did not have time to develop the science and introduce that to Oregonians in advance to the release of the map so the whole thing was a big surprise, and we didn't have a chance to really consult with some of these folks that know their landscapes really well and learn from them.

So, if anything, if any positive came out of that experience back in 2022, when we first released the public map, it's that we had a chance to back to some of those audiences and collaborate with them. And that's led to some really key changes, for instance Particularly in agricultural areas.

With the help of land managers, we were able to diagnose this challenge around capturing fire behavior and hay and pasture lands, and we pulled together a sort of a team to look at that issue and come up with some solutions. And those are going to be incorporated into this next version of the map that comes out.

Andy McEvoy: And then same thing with some observations about how we first captured wildfire hazard in irrigated agricultural areas. Farmers and land managers and irrigation managers helped us sort of identify data that would help us characterize how irrigated agriculture mitigates wildfire hazard under a lot of conditions.

And so, we have an opportunity to incorporate that into the next draft map as well. So, it's been really instructive.

Lauren Grand: Okay, so it's really great that people are providing input. So, you've mentioned a few qualifiers in terms of high hazard, low hazard.

Navigating the Levels of Wildfire Hazard and the Wildland Urban Interface

Lauren Grand: Can you talk a little bit about the different levels of hazard and what it means to be designated as high or low?

Andy McEvoy: Yeah, sure. Happy to talk about that.

So. This is something that will be different for folks that remember the map that was rolled out in 2022. In addition to that change from risk to hazard. bill 80 also required that instead of having five risk classes, well, each tax lot in Oregon will now be designated in one of three hazard zones.

So, any tax law in Oregon will be assigned to either low, moderate, or high hazard. what that means is we calculate hazard across all of Oregon and we summarize that for each tax slot. So, we actually calculate hazard at a really fine Resolution for every about 100 ft by 100 cell across Oregon. We divide it all up into these uniform size cells or pixels. We call them and calculate hazard at that level. And then we average all those values across any given tax line. Right? Then in order to classify the data in order to divide it into those three classes we take the top 10 percent of tax lots with the highest hazard level and designate those as high hazard.

And then from the 40th percentile to the 90th percentile. So that's sort of Those tax laws in Oregon with that middle 50 percent of hazard values become the moderate hazard zone, and then everyone else is in the low hazard zone. So, it's a really important change.

Because every tax law in Oregon now has some hazard rating. We eliminated the no hazard category that used to be there. And so, every tax lot will be in low, moderate, or high hazard. And what that means is if you're in the high hazard zone, that means that you're in the top 10 percent of tax lots in Oregon with the highest wildfire hazard.

And in and of itself, that doesn't really mean very much. But if that tax lot is also identified as being partially or wholly in the wildland urban interface, then the tax lot could be subject to defensible space and fire hardening code that I mentioned previously. So, this is a really important point in order for a structure to be potentially subject to those defensible space and fire hardening codes that I mentioned, it has to meet two criteria, it has to be both high hazard and located in the wildland urban interface.

Lauren Grand: Okay, so that's really important. Can you dive a little bit deeper into what the wildland urban interface is and is that being mapped? On this map, or is it a separate map? How's it being? How's that information being shared with Oregonians?

Andy McEvoy: so much of the attention has been in the conversation, not just today, but in general has been about the hazard map for obvious reasons, but Oregon State University was also directed to build a map of the wildland urban interface for all of Oregon.

And so, the wildland urban interface, or you'll hear me call it the WEI. That's kind of the common term for it is a geographic area that really characterizes that transition zone between more developed community cores and wildlands. And the idea is to capture that zone where wildland fire poses the greatest risk and, where there's enough structures.

In close proximity to vegetation that if a fire occurs, we could really have a community wildfire disaster on our hands. That's the idea behind the WEI. It's the sort of the geographic area all across the western US that is being developed really quickly and where so many of these disasters are occurring.

So, yes, Oregon State University has built a map of the wildland urban interface. We did that in conjunction with some of the same stakeholders that we've been working with in the hazard mapping process. And it really, the WEI kind of comes down to two things. How many structures are there?

So, the density, the number of structures per acre, for instance, and how close are those structures to flammable vegetation? That's the idea. So, we use those two characteristics and identify all the parts of the landscape that meet that minimum building density threshold. So there has to be at least one has to be at least one structure per 40 acres.

And that structure that has to be in close proximity to some flammable vegetation. So, we've mapped that. And we did that, like I said before, in conjunction with some of the same partners and in Oregon, there are different versions of the way all across the country, different municipalities or jurisdictions have decided to map it differently.

Ours was really informed by our robust stakeholder process that included land use planners, wildfire science experts county commissioners representatives from city and local governments... all kind of weighed in on this process. Conservation folks, folks from the Farm Bureau were there, I believe.

So, I really had this sort of broad perspective to it and made some unique and specific customizations to that process. So that making sure that groups of Structures on the same property-- so maybe like mainly in agricultural areas where you might have lots of barns and outbuildings-- those don't become their own wild land, urban interface, just because they meet the building threshold and are surrounded by vegetation.

So, we did some things to make sure that we're not capturing or overly burdening agricultural areas just because they might have lots, more buildings than your standard sort of suburban lot, which only has one building on it or something like that. So, we went through that process and produced a map of the wildland urban interface, and those two things will be used in conjunction with one another, the wildland urban interface map and the hazard map.

When the map is finalized and everything is publicly released, Oregonians will have a chance to see not only what their hazard designation is, but also whether or not any part of their tax lot is in the wildland urban interface.

Lauren Grand: Thanks. And do you know if that those resources will be available in any one particular place, or how will people be able to look that up?

Andy McEvoy: Yeah, thanks for asking. Similar to last time around, all this information will be available on a map that's publicly viewable on the Oregon Explorer, so the Oregon Wildfire Risk Explorer. And I don't happen to have that URL off the top of my head, but I'm sure we can link to it in the podcast notes.

Lauren Grand: Absolutely. Okay, great. Yeah, that's great to know that at least people will be able to go back to the same place. And that will be easy to find. So, I'm just curious, you've mentioned when we first started talking about how, the wildfire landscape is changing and it's changing rapidly.

Can you talk a little bit about how, those changing conditions are being incorporated or thought about in the development of this wildfire hazard map?

Andy McEvoy: You're right. The fire environment is changing rapidly. Part of that is certainly changes on the landscape, whether those are the effects of fires that have happened or whether those are, hazardous fuel treatments there's certainly climate is changing.

So, fire season is more variable. It's longer than it used to be. It can be more intense in certain parts of the state than it used to be. And then we also, our communities are changing we are growing and expanding our communities in different parts of the state. So, there's a lot of aspects to that change.

And the design or the plan here is to update the map approximately every four to six years or so. So, we want to coordinate an update of this map with the release of updated information related to burn probability and fire intensity. And those are coordinated with larger regional projects.

So, about every four to six years OSU and our state agency partners will have a chance to remap wildfire hazard and account for some of those changes on the landscape.

Lauren Grand: Yeah, it makes a lot of sense that we'd be continually changing the map as the landscape changes. So, it's great to know that it's being considered and it's part of the solution. so, you talked a lot about this map and various codes and lots of information about, what landowners need to know coming down the pike for this, the release of this map. Is there a location in addition to the Oregon Explorer where listeners can learn more about what's going on with wildfire hazard mapping or any other, resources being developed for this strategic plan.

Andy McEvoy: Sure. So, there are really two places that I would direct folks.

One is at OSU. We have our own web page that describes the hazard mapping and WUI mapping process in a little bit more detail. And so, we can link to that in the notes, but the URL is So, a bit of a mouthful, but as of right now, that's that'll get you to a landing page that describes this process fairly generally.

But as we move further into the development of this draft data, and it becomes a more public process again there'll be lots of information there where folks can learn in more detail about sort of some of the processes and the data I've been describing today. And then for anyone who wants to learn more about the wildfire programs more generally the state fire marshal has a great wildfire programs page.

If you search Oregon state fire marshal, Oregon wildfire programs that will get you there. We can also link to that in the notes, I'm sure.

Lauren Grand: Is there an estimate of when this, map is coming out?

Andy McEvoy: Yeah, so the draft hazard map, we've just finished going through a rulemaking advisory committee with the Oregon Department of Forestry.

That committee was really focused on one specific piece of feedback that we heard from Oregonians over the past two years. And that is that they wanted to see Oregonians express an interest in seeing the Risk mitigating or hazard mitigating effects of irrigated agriculture reflected in the hazard calculations.

So, in other words, there are a number of stakeholders that wanted to see irrigated agriculture accounted for when calculating wildfire hazard. So, the department of forestry convened a rulemaking advisory committee to consider that question. And so, coming out of that, the rulemaking advisory committee did make a recommendation on how to do that, how to account for irrigated agriculture.

And so now we have draft rules in place that will go before the board of forestry for a vote later this year. And so, what we have for the time being are draft maps that we are sharing with County planners in a review for anomaly. So, asking for their input again on this draft data. There will be a public outreach sort of processing campaign over the coming months.

And then later this year after that information from the counties has been incorporated into the draft data, and the rules have been adopted, then the map will be finalized. So that will happen later in 2024.

Lauren Grand: Hey, great. I guess the better question would have been what steps are left in getting the map finalized.

So that's great. That's what I wanted to hear. So, thank you for answering what I was thinking about, but didn't say.

Andy McEvoy: you got it.

Lauren Grand: Okay.

Final Thoughts and Additional Resources on Wildfire Hazard Mapping

Lauren Grand: Well, anything else you feel like you want to add before I get to pick your brain about your favorite tree and some other resources?

Andy McEvoy: You know, just that we've really appreciated the process to engage with Oregonians all across the state on this issue.

And the thing we hear time and again is that that Oregonians are well aware of the risk that they're living with. And the whole purpose of this map is to acknowledge that risk, to quantify that risk, and then to support our agencies in Getting these investments in these resources to the places where we can really help protect homes and properties and values and protect lives at the end of the day.

That's really what these programs are all about. And the map is just one small part of trying to support that effort. Thanks for the opportunity to be here and talk about it today.

Lauren Grand: Yeah, thanks for the great work and for helping to explain it so that we all know what's going on and how to look at the map and understand it.

So, I really appreciate the information that you shared with us. And I didn't know the difference between risk and hazard. And so, I really appreciate you explaining that clearly and sharing it with us. So, thanks so much. And to all the listeners out there as you were listening today, if any other questions came up or we didn't cover a specific topic related to today's episode, drop us a comment or send us a message on our website at in the woods podcast. org. But don't leave us yet. Our lightning rounds up next.

Lightning Round: Personal Insights from Andy McEvoy

Lauren Grand: Okay, Andy, so now I get to ask you some more personal questions. And my favorite one to ask is always, what's your favorite tree?

Andy McEvoy: My favorite tree it's, I mean, I'm sure most of your listeners say this or your guests, but it's hard to choose.

Lauren Grand: That is a common answer.

Andy McEvoy: I think today anyways, it's one from my time back in the northeast when I worked with a forester and a logger in New England. The American Beech. Yeah, it's just such an incredible tree. It's having a hard time given a number of different pests and challenges that it faces, but there's Nothing quite like being in a stand of mature American Beech with their like beautiful, smooth, great trunks and their leaves tend to hang on throughout the winter and so they kind of rattle and it's just such an important tree for so many different species of wildlife. Yeah, so it's just in a majestic is the word that comes to mind,

Lauren Grand: right? That's a great choice. And I think the first time anyone's mentioned it on the podcast, so gold star. Okay. So, what's the most interesting thing that you bring with you in the field, whether it's in a vest or field kit.

And I guess if you don't really go in the field as much anymore that you just use in your work.

Andy McEvoy: Yeah. So, we spent the entire episode talking about it, but the most interesting thing that I bring with me that I really appreciate are the maps that I bring. I find that it's such a fascinating thing when we're having hard conversations, we might, be talking with different stakeholder groups that we don't necessarily share the same perspective on risk or the best way to capture risk and those kinds of things.

But the minute we can put a map on the table then folks really start to talk about what they know about their landscape. And one, I get to learn a lot when I do that it's something about having a map to point at and talk at actual landscape features people start to open up a little bit more.

And so, I learn a lot, which is really helpful. But also, I find maps are just amazing tools for collaboration. That somehow provides it as sort of a common ground and a common language for people to start having some really hard conversations. And so, I just, always appreciate having maps to point to, and they really seem to facilitate good conversation.

Lauren Grand: Yeah, that's great. That's a good one. And it's definitely always fun when you can get the people that you're working with to start talking a little bit more and sharing more about their personal experience. It's a good tool. Okay. And last but not least any other additional resources you'd recommend to our listeners if they want to dive a little bit deeper into wildfire hazard mapping or just fire resources in Oregon?

Andy McEvoy: Sure. I think we've already mentioned that the web page from the Oregon State Fire Marshall about wildfire programs. I really encourage folks to get familiar with the whole breadth of wildfire programs in the state because it's really impressive. And it's really promising, I think. And of course, there's OSU's web page, which I mentioned earlier, that describes our hazard mapping process and our WUI mapping process in more detail.

And then the only other one I might mention, which is, I think, a really good resource for all different kinds of folks, community planners, individuals, folks that are interested in this topic is, which is the Wildfire Risk To Communities page. It's a national web page, but it really has some great resources in there for understanding wildfire risk, helping understand the data that informs our decisions around wildfire risk.

And also provides some pretty interesting and sort of community specific information about risk and hazard and that sort of thing. So, wildfire is another good one.

Lauren Grand: Great. I didn't know about that website, so I'll have to add it to my own personal stash of resources. So, thanks for sharing that.

Closing Remarks and Acknowledgments

Lauren Grand: Okay. Well that concludes another episode of In the Woods. Join us in a couple weeks to explore another topic on Oregon's amazing forests. But until then, what's in your woods?

The In the Woods Podcast is produced by Lauren Grand, Jacob Putney, and Scott Lovingood, who are all members of the Oregon State University Forestry and Natural Resources Extension team. Other members of the team who've been involved in the podcast. Kerry Berger. Jason O'Brien, and Stephen Fitzgerald.

Episodes are edited and produced by Carrie Cantrell. Music for In the Woods was composed by Jeffrey Hino. And graphic design was created by Christina Friehauf. Funding for In the Woods is provided by Oregon State University Forestry and Natural Resources Extension, the Oregon Forest Resources Institute, and the USDA Renewable Resources Extension Act funding.

We hope you enjoyed the episode, and we can't wait to talk to you again next month. Until then, what's in your woods?

This episode discusses the development of a wildfire hazard map for Oregon, detailing the purpose, process, and importance of the map. The host, Lauren Grand, conducts an interview with a faculty research assistant at Oregon State University, who explains the calculation of wildfire hazard, the distinction between hazard and risk, and the involvement of various stakeholders in the mapping process. The conversation also covers the wildland-urban interface map, plans for map updates, and additional resources for those interested in wildfire hazard mapping in Oregon. Go to ⁠⁠⁠⁠ for more information and accessible resources.


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