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EPA grant aims to boost Lane County wildfire smoke resiliency

A tent and parking lot under an orange-yellow, wildfire smoke tinted sky.
Photo of Oakridge taken from the Cedar Creek Fire Incident Command site, Oct. 5, 2022.

The Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA) secured a three-year grant from the U.S. EPA for wildfire smoke resiliency efforts in the Oakridge - Westfir area.

LRAPA Spokesperson Travis Knudsen said the nearly $1 million grant will fund efforts to increase smoke mitigation and boost climate resiliency to help communities adapt to more frequent and intense wildfires. He said projects include enhancing emergency communication, analyzing Lane County health data, and smoke-proofing 30 area homes.

“This is an environmental justice government-to-government grant," Knudsen told KLCC, "so we are overlaying smoke vulnerability and other aspects to see who is in greatest need in the community to benefit from these interventions.”

Knudsen said the homes will be given things like fire resistant upgrades, air sealing, and air filters and purifiers.

LRAPA will also create a toolkit of best practices, intended to help other rural communities create similar programs.

Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.
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