BEND, OR -- The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and U.S. Forest Service are investing more than $2 million to reduce the size of wildfires and restore forest ecosystems in Oregon. Klamath District Conservationist David Komorowski says $1.7 million of the funding will make it possible to engage in fire prevention work on public and private lands in northern Klamath County. "Things cost money, so private landowners aren't always going to be able to fund any type of project that's going to help reduce these wildfire risks. And the same goes across with the Forest Service, as far as, they have a limited budget, so there's only so much work they can do to tackle these wildfire risks and do some wildfire fuel reductions."
Komorowski tells KBND News the Chiloquin area is rated as high risk for wildland fire, "Wildfire hazard is the big push for this one. We're trying to reduce the forest fuels out there to mitigate any kind of potential wildfires that might be coming through that area." And, he says, work is already underway, "There's a lot of people involved that are doing really good work. "We already have started doing work up there with other funding sources, so this is another pool of money that we can utilize to do this work out there." Nearly $600,000 will go to the Elk Creek Watershed Restoration Partnership Project in the Umpqua National Forest.
The "Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership" calls for thinning, prescribed burns, and creating fire breaks to reduce fuels; and eventually will include programs to protect water quality while improving wildlife habitat.