© 2024 KLCC

136 W 8th Ave
Eugene OR 97401

Contact Us

FCC Applications
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Forest Officials Hope To Gain Advantage Over Potential Wildfires

Brian Bull

Lane County has begun six projects intended to proactively reduce wildfire risks.

Of $5 million allocated to the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) by a state legislative board, $581,000 is being spent in Lane County.  The idea is to improve community resilience to wildfires, while also maintaining healthy forests through reducing fuels like slash and debris.

Jeff Burns, the ODF’s partnership and planning program manager, said there are many partnerships involved in such an effort, including private landowners.

“We’re building a long-term relationship that may go well beyond a fuels mitigation project, into eventual insect and disease issues, or water quality issues or enable landowners to take advantage of particular programs in the future.”

Altogether, 37 projects have been funded across Oregon to help offset destructive wildfires.  With 2020’s wildfire season being the worst in the state’s recorded history, officials are really working hard to be proactive.

State officials hope 2021's wildfire season won’t reach the disastrous levels of last year. Burns said this is behind the push to proactively remove slash and debris from public and private lands.

“But we have some drought conditions in the south, and the Central Cascade range,” said Burns.  “So we’re taking a strong look at that, but conditions change so frequently that what we can do is prepare, and stay flexible, and react better when we have those forecasts in front of us.”

In its April report, the National Interagency Fire Center says central Oregon will likely see above normal potential for fire beginning in June.  Areas in Lane County include Crow, Veneta, and the McKenzie Bridge area. 

Altogether, the $5 million is being used in 37 projects across the state.

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.
Related Content