Tags: wildfire

Oregon invests in wildfire risk reduction

A new wildfire broke out and quickly put up a billowing smoke column on Sunday 6th July near Paulina Lake Road in the La Pine area in the state of Oregon.

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The Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland visited the Rogue Valley on Sunday, joined by Oregon US Senator Jeff Merkley, where the federal officials met with local, state, federal, and tribal leaders, to discuss investments in wildland fire preparedness and response.

They were also briefed on our region’s current fire conditions and expectations for the upcoming fire season.

Senator Jeff Merkley said there is an effort to get more boots on the ground to help prepare for fire season, with groups like the National Guard training to support firefighters when needed.

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced in a press conference Sunday, that over $21 million in funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, is coming to help wildfire risk reduction here in Oregon. Including fuel management work on over 170,000 acres this fiscal year. The $21 million in funding is in addition to the $50 million that was announced earlier in the week, to further enhance wildland fire management in 2023.

Secretary Haaland said: “The reality is that these days fire seasons last for most of the year, we have fire years more than fire seasons anymore. Oregon, unfortunately, knows this all too well, with so little room for error, we must remain steadfast in our commitment to wildland fire preparedness mitigation and resilience.”

She said that the funding will go towards specific mediation and response efforts including helping local communities across the country acquire slip-on tank units and expand remote sensing for wildfire detection. It will also go to increase federal and tribal firefighter pay, improve housing options, and expand the current number of permanent firefighters.

The Interior Department is investing $1.5 billion over the next five years to increase the resilience of communities facing the threat of wildfires, like the Rogue Valley. Secretary Haaland said these funds will help put our fire programs on more proactive footing, to not only manage fires as they happen but to help them from taking hold in the first place.

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