It is fire season in Southern Oregon. It’s painful to think what might happen if we have another summer dominated by wildfire and smoke like we experienced in 2018, or like Australia and Alaska in 2019. With severe drought conditions this year we need to do everything possible to help our communities, our economy, our health, and our safety…. again.
Last fire season, community members from all backgrounds and political beliefs came together to make sure that best practices were employed to fight wildfires. These efforts were in support of Proclamation 17-19 your Jackson County Commissioners issued in January 2019.
Though we made it through 2019 with just a few days of smoke in the Rogue Valley, this year is different, a year preceded by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a year in which we are already in emergency drought conditions.
With public health at the forefront of everyone’s mind this year, it is more important than ever that we continue to charge forward.
We ask the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to adopt policies and practices for full suppression of wildfires and related smoke during the official wildfire season. This includes using all proven methods for reducing the amount and intensity of wildfires and associated smoke. These practices will also ensure full access to the forests, making certain that equipment and human resources are staged and ready to deploy placing a priority on reducing fuel loads. We ask that Congress appropriate adequate funding to support these efforts. We ask the State of Oregon to adopt the same full suppression policy for their forests, backed by the funding to do the job right.
Please join us in asking that politics be set aside, and that state and federal stakeholders be prepared to put out every fire when it starts. Jackson County citizens, please help us in this effort. 2020 is not the time to let up.