28 April 2021

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USA – ROGUE VALLEY, Ore. — Multiple agencies are working together to mitigate fire risk in southern Oregon.

Early this month, the USDA awarded new partnership projects in Oregon to help mitigate climate change and protect natural resources while supporting america’s producers.

The West Bear All-Lands Restoration Project, was one of 5 to receive funding.

“Projects like this, help us do our job by the reducing the fuels to the wild land urban interface. Jacksonville is a little national historic town so we have a lot of wild land, urban interface in that area so this helps us immensely,” said Wayne Painter, Jacksonville Fire Department, Fire Chief.

Lomakatsi Restoration Project is the lead partner but multiple other agencies and investments from fundraising efforts have bolstered the action of wildfire mitigation in southern Oregon.

The West Bear All-Lands Restoration Project will treat thousands of acres, with a goal of preventing deadly and devastating wildfires from tearing through our Southern Oregon communities.

“The time is right now, there’s never been more interest from private land owners as well, said Peter Winnick, Jackson County’s Acting District Conservationist, “we’re trying to really get along the ingress and the egress and, and really look at communities at risk with all the losses going on in communities, it just has to be part of it.”

The mitigation plan focuses on an area west of I-5 in Jackson county that starts near Jacksonville and moves south.

Gov. Brown calling it a win for everyone involved.

“I see these projects as win-win win. Obviously we’re creating healthier, more fire, resilient landscapes, we’re putting folks to work, and we’re creating safer communities, particularly for private landowners in the area,” said Gov. Brown.

The Nature Conservancy in Oregon has put together projections for areas in our region that need wildfire mitigation work done, sharing today that there’s a lot to do and it won’t be cheap.

“We’ve identified all of the areas about a million acres over 20 years that would need to be treated,” said Darren Borgias with The Nature Conservancy, “some of it will generate income with small diameter logs that we can sell to the mills and creating more jobs and induce even more jobs beyond that; a lot of it is non-commercial and it’s going to cost a pretty penny to do all of the work, we estimate about $700-$800 million.”

Agencies in attendance today thanked the Governor and asked for the continued support for Senate Bill 762 which would designate a study on strategies to promote wildfire response and recovery and then present those results in a report before September of 2022.

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