PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon’s 2017 fire season will be remembered as one of the worst on record, with large blazes such as the Chetco Bar fire requiring huge expenses to suppress. But there’s more to the story than the millions of dollars spent fighting this conflagration in southwestern Oregon, the Eagle Creek fire in the Columbia River Gorge, and the many other expansive wildfires that burned across the state.
A new report from the Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) outlines many of the other costs of a fire season that blanketed the state in smoke, forced the closure of roads and highways, and caused the cancellation of outdoor events.
Titled “Impacts of Oregon’s 2017 Wildfire Season – Time for a Crucial Conversation,” the 25-page report details the far-reaching effects of last year’s wildfire season. These include negative impacts to public health, transportation, tourism-reliant businesses, school athletics and iconic Oregon economic sectors such as the wine and timber industries. The report calls on the state’s leaders, scientists and policymakers to chart a course wherein Oregonians can co-exist with fire while simultaneously mitigating how it affects our economy and health.
“Fire plays an important role in Oregon’s fire-adapted forest ecosystems,” says OFRI Executive Director Paul Barnum. “Since we’ll never be ‘fire-free,’ it’s crucial for state leaders to discuss how we can lessen the impacts wildfires have on our communities. This new report is intended to bring attention to why such a conversation is needed now.”
Read the full report here.
About the Oregon Forest Resources Institute:
The Oregon Legislature created the Oregon Forest Resources Institute in 1991 to advance public understanding of forests, forest management and forest products, and to encourage sound forestry through landowner education. A 13-member board of directors governs OFRI. It is funded by a portion of the forest products harvest tax.