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Erosion Risks High In Areas Scorched By Oregon Wildfires

Brian Bull

The damage left by Oregon’s 2020 wildfires will pose risks and challenges for years, according to the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.

A new reportby the Erosion Threat Assessment/Reduction Team (ETART) looked at several recent major wildfires. This includes the Holiday Farm Fire which consumed 173,000 acres, and cost $42 million to suppress. Most of the affected areas now have “high” to “very high” erosion risk, which increases the chance of landslides.

Renee Davis of the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board was part of an ETART media panel. She said rehabilitation efforts are underway to reduce the risk.

“Mulching to keep in place soil that otherwise would be at risk.  Also some early seeding to get some vegetation re-established. Then as we move into coming spring, very intense replanting efforts with saplings, ultimately growing into some of the forest we lost during this fire season.”

But ETART members stress awareness is important for people living in the McKenzie River Corridor. That means keeping an eye on damaged terrain for the indefinite future.

Copyright 2021, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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