PORTLAND, Ore. – As Oregon enters another fire season still reeling from the impacts of last year’s devastating Labor Day wildfires, the Keep Oregon Green Association’s longtime efforts to prevent human-caused wildfires are getting a substantial boost from an Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) grant that will double the investment in Keep Oregon Green’s annual wildfire prevention campaign.
May is Wildfire Awareness Month, so the $200,000 grant to ramp up wildfire prevention outreach could not come at a better time, says Keep Oregon Green Executive Director Kristin Babbs. The nonprofit organization, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2021, is partnering with federal, state and local fire agencies this month to encourage the public to create defensible space around their homes and prevent careless, unwanted wildfires this summer.
“This year has already produced nearly three times the average number of fires to date, and we’re just entering fire season,” Babbs says. “More than 97% of Oregon is abnormally dry or worse, so it’s imperative that Oregonians do all they can to help to prevent wildfires this summer. A fire prevented is a fire that does not need to be put out, and that saves lives, property, resources and millions of dollars.”
The OFRI grant will allow Keep Oregon Green to greatly expand its annual wildfire prevention campaign, encouraging Oregon residents and tourists to practice basic wildfire safety. Funding from OFRI will broaden Keep Oregon Green’s publicity and public outreach, through public service announcements on digital streaming services in addition to advertisements on TriMet buses, MAX trains, shelters and benches across the Portland metro area. The grant will also fund sponsorships for wildfire prevention messages delivered by metro-area television news anchors and meteorologists, and allow Keep Oregon Green’s messaging to reach more stations in the Eugene-Springfield area and central Oregon.
As part of Keep Oregon Green’s “Oregon, Our Oregon” campaign, stunning photos of Oregon’s iconic landscapes will be used to encourage everyone to protect the state’s scenic recreation areas. Using the hashtag #OregonOurOregon, Keep Oregon Green is asking the public to share photos of their favorite natural areas and their thoughts for keeping Oregon free of wildfire.
“OFRI is providing this important additional funding to Keep Oregon Green because we share the common goal of informing the public about the importance of preventing wildfires to protect Oregon’s forests and other natural landscapes,” says OFRI Executive Director Erin Isselmann. “As we prepare for what could be another challenging fire season, it’s a more-than-appropriate time to help extend the reach of Keep Oregon Green’s efforts to reduce the number of easily preventable wildfires.”
About the Oregon Forest Resources Institute:
The Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) was created by the Oregon Legislature in 1991 to support the state’s forest products industry by advancing public understanding of forests, forest management and forest products, and encouraging sustainable forestry through landowner education. A 13-member board of directors governs OFRI. It is funded by a portion of the forest products harvest tax.
About the Keep Oregon Green Association:
For 80 years the Keep Oregon Green Association has been educating the public on how to prevent wildfires. Beginning its efforts in April 1941 after a public outcry over the human-caused Tillamook Burns, roughly 250 Oregon leaders came together to form Keep Oregon Green (KOG). KOG’s mission is to promote healthy landscapes and safe communities by educating the public about everyone’s shared responsibility to prevent human-caused wildfires.