McKenzie Watershed Council provides free firewood to rural communities
Rural residents are getting help with their heating from the McKenzie Watershed Council’s Firewood Program. The program, which began in 2021 after the Holiday Farm Fire, provides free firewood harvested from private properties in the burn zone.
Watershed restoration specialist Lara Colley was working on fuels reduction in the burn zone with the Pure Water Partners Collective. That’s when she remembered a program in Wallowa County that donated hazardous forest fuels as firewood to socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals in the community.
“We were starting to chip some logs that seemed like they could be firewood," Colley said. "So I had been reading about this program and was trying to think about what to do about some of this log chipping we had started to do, and the idea for this firewood program came up.”
After serving 300 individuals in 2022, the McKenzie Watershed Council hopes to meet and exceed that number this year. They are seeking more funding to expand the reach and ensure the longevity of the program in the future.