House Bill 2222, a bill that would require the Oregon Department of Forestry to report to the legislature regarding its implementation of the Oregon Forestland-Urban Interface Act, which was signed into law in 1997, was passed unanimously (3-0, 2 absent) out of the Oregon Senate Committee On Environment and Natural Resources.
“We are one more step closer in the passage of HB 2222”, said Representative Jack Zika. “With summer right around the corner, our days are dry, getting hotter, and forest fires are looming. I am committed to protecting the natural beauty of Central Oregon. HB 2222 will be a positive step forward with wildfire protection and provide property owners incentives preventing damage to their homes from catastrophic wildfire.”
Zika is a chief sponsor of HB 2222 with the bi-partisan support of chief co-sponsors Senator Betsy Johnson, Representative Cheri Helt and Representative Daniel Bonham.
The bill continues through the legislative process after it unanimously passed the House Committee on Natural Resources and the House of Representatives. The Act was intended to provide property owners incentives and tools to remove ladders fuels that can burn and devastate Central Oregon homes.
Since the 1997 Act was signed into law, the risk of wildfire to Oregon residents has only grown, as additionally shown by the destruction of Paradise, California last summer. Yet, the Oregon Department of Forestry has failed to fully implement the Act, leaving Oregonians at a higher risk of property destruction or worse. HB 2222 would help push the Department toward implementing this important law.
HB 2222 now heads to the Senate floor for a vote.