Jackson County, Oregon, USA

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August 18, 2022
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Forestry Department seeks public comment on selection of landscapes for grant program

SALEM, Ore.—Senate Bill 762 established a $20 million grant program within the Oregon Department of Forestry to restore landscape resiliency by reducing hazardous fuels on forestland and rangeland. 

“Ensuring these funds go toward getting the landscapes near homes, communities, and infrastructure treated to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire is a critical step toward helping Oregon adapt to its new, more intense wildfire environment,” said Doug Grafe, Oregon’s Wildfire Programs Director.

The Oregon Department of Forestry consulted with a work group of diverse stakeholders to establish grant criteria and evaluate proposals requesting grant funds. The work group recommended their top ranked projects to ODF. 

The bill also designates a public comment period be held on selection of the landscapes under the program. To help inform this comment period, the department prepared a map showing where proposed and work group recommended landscapes lie on the existing map of the four highest risk classes in Oregon. The map is available on ODF’s website.

“This is an opportunity for Oregonians to see where the grant funds could be put to work and provide the department with input about those areas for ODF to consider when making our final decision about which projects to fund,” said Jeff Burns, manager of the Landscape Resiliency Program, which is administering the $20 million in grants. 

SB 762 requires that priority be given to landscapes that:

  • Are in the four highest risk classes identified in the Pacific Northwest Qualitative Wildfire Risk Assessment.
  • Include federal lands with treatment projects currently approved under the National Environmental Policy Act.
  • Focus on treatments protective of human life, property, critical infrastructure, watershed health, and forest or rangeland habitat restoration. 
  • Are part of a collaborative partnership with agreements across diverse stakeholders that use expansive, landscape-scale approach to address elevated risk of wildfire.

Burns said he encourages members of the public to access the map and provide comment on the selected landscapes to help inform the department’s decision-making process. Comments can be sent by email to odf.restoration@odf.oregon.gov until 5 p.m. on February 11, 2022.

Senate Bill 762 is comprehensive legislation passed with bipartisan support that provides more than $200 million to help Oregon modernize and improve wildfire preparedness through three key strategies: creating fire-adapted communities, developing safe and effective response, and increasing the resiliency of Oregon's landscapes. The bill is the product of years of hard work by many Oregonians, the Governor's Council on Wildfire Response, the Legislature, and state agencies.

Additional information about Senate Bill 762 is available on ODF’s website.

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