After Massive Bootleg Fire, Klamath Tribal Officials Explore Starting Fire Department

Sep 13, 2021

The Klamath Tribe in Oregon wants to create its own fire agency, following this year’s Bootleg Fire which burned much of their ancestral land. 

A thank you sign to firefighters from the Klamath Tribe.
Credit Inciweb

The Bootleg Fire consumed over 413,000 acres; one fourth of that was Klamath reservation land.

The Bootleg Fire, in early August.
Credit Inciweb

Steve Rondeau is the tribe’s Natural Resources Director.  He told KLCC that the Klamath hope to get funds soon to launch their own fire agency, which would work with other governmental agencies on wildfire management.

“From a tribal perspective, fire is a process upon the landscape and is something we have to live with all the time," said Rondeau.  "So looking back at our practices, we can see a future where our greater society can take lessons from the past, and apply them to these current conditions and we change our environment for the better and prevent some of these mega-fires from actually happening.” 

Rondeau said there’s growing receptiveness to tribal practices such as controlled burns, which have helped limit the size and growth of wildfires.

Copyright 2021, KLCC.