Oregon's wildfire risk map emerges as new climate flashpoint

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A new map in Oregon that rated the wildfire risk of every tax lot in the state — labeling nearly 80,000 structures as high-risk — generated so much pushback from angry homeowners that officials abruptly retracted it, saying they had not done enough local outreach before publicizing the ambitious project.

The rapid reversal, announced late Thursday, capped weeks of mounting frustration in mostly rural areas as the map emerged as a new flashpoint for conservatives who call it government overreach and “climate change evangelism.”

Oregon State Forester Cal Mukumoto said in a statement his agency got specific feedback from 2,000 residents about problems with the risk designations that were assigned by the Oregon Explorer project and said climate scientists would refine the map and reissue a new version at a later date.

The map was part of a $220 million bill passed last year to prepare Oregon for worsening, climate change-fueled wildfires.