While some parts of Oregon have experienced recent rainy weather, drought conditions persist and have worsened through much of the state. It’s likely to be another hot, dry summer, which will mean a high risk for wildfires.
Communities across Oregon have just begun to recover from two of the most severe wildfire seasons in our state’s history.
Thanks to the climate crisis, Oregon and much of the West are struggling to adapt to increasingly frequent and severe wildfires that threaten lives, businesses, and communities. I have been working hard with federal, state, and local officials to ensure our state gets the resources we need to prevent, prepare for, suppress, and recover from these fires.
It’s going to require an all hands on deck approach to prevent wildfire in the coming months, so that’s why I was proud to have secured funding in the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to shore up our nation’s power grid from extreme weather and natural disasters, and for wildfire risk mitigation and forest health treatments, including an additional $100 million for existing forest collaboratives, which manage forests by bringing together folks from the Forest Service with community groups and private landowners.
In the past month I have pushed both Interior Secretary Haaland and the U.S. Forest Service Chief during Senate committee hearings about their plans to address the urgent need for additional permanent wildland firefighters, as well as to increase the number of acres treated to improve forest health and prevent fires in Oregon and the West.
I’ll continue to push for robust federal investments in time-tested, data-proven techniques like controlled burns during colder, wetter months, forest thinning to clear out debris and vegetation, and a comprehensive investment in clean energy to ensure healthier and more fire-resilient forests for generations to come.
Stay safe by signing up for emergency notifications in your area. And if you or someone you know needs assistance recovering from a wildfire, please contact my office at 503-326-7525.
Rest assured, I’ll continue working around the clock in the weeks and months to come to protect our communities and ensure our state gets the resources it needs this fire season.