The Deschutes National Forest has worked closely with the Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project and several other community groups in recent years to keep our fire dependent forests healthy.
Friday morning, elected officials and land managers toured several different areas throughout Central Oregon to showcase the work that’s being done to make the forests more fire resilient.
We are here with the Oregon Forest Resources Institute to talk about the West Bend Project and some of the forest restoration that is taking place in Central Oregon,” said Kevin Larkin, District Ranger with the Deschutes National Forest. “So we’re here to show off some of the work that’s underway that’s been going on for the past several years to restore the health and vigor of these forests.”
Larkin says that in recent years the community has been more accepting of the work that’s being done in the forests, especially during prescribed burn season.
“A little bit of smoke in the spring and the fall during prescribed burn season goes a long way to preventing a lot of smoke entering the community in the summer fire season,” Larkin said.
Democratic Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley said the work that collaboratives are doing in Oregon isn’t just creating healthier forests, it’s preventing dangerous fires from threatening communities.
“For a generation we have not allowed fire to operate in the forests in a normal way which has resulted in a lot of density and therefore more explosive fires when they do occur,” he said. “So this type of thinning, mowing, prescribed burning, is really helping to alter our forests back to something more similar to their natural state.”