Classification of lands as "forestland" essentially determines where within the District the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) has fire protection responsibilities. Lands classified as "forestland" within the boundary receive protection from ODF and are assessed for fire protection.
The Oregon Department of Forestry's forestland classification system originated with the passage of the Forest Land Classification Act by the Oregon Legislature in 1937. By the 1950s, the system had been adopted statewide with significant regional variation in interpretation and application.
Many things have changed in the past 70 years. Land use patterns and the wildfire protection environment are much different today. Lincoln County's population has increased, and development patterns have changed. People are building homes and living in rural areas among flammable vegetation that can sustain and carry fire. These Wildland-Urban Interface areas, containing a mix of flammable vegetation and private homes, now cover large portions of the forest protection district.
As a consequence of these trends, the complexity and costs of the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) fire protection program escalate. Many of the conditions under which ODF's forestland classification system was originally established seventy years ago, no longer apply. In response to frequent issues and questions arising with classification efforts, the ODF in 2007 formally initiated a thorough review of the statutes, rules, and policies that make up its forestland classification framework. Key goals of this review were to update the classification system to reflect current conditions and identify ways to improve the efficiency and consistency of its administration.
One of the outcomes of this review has led to a Forestland Classification review of all lands in Lincoln County within ODF's West Oregon District boundary.