Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced $6.8 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for wildfire prevention projects in Oregon on 49,039 acres of land across the state. The additional funding is intended to help complete fuels treatments on nearly 2 million acres nationwide this fiscal year, a substantial increase over the last year’s fiscal year.
“As Oregon’s wildfire seasons grow longer and hotter, they are a stark reminder of how important resilient forests are to protecting our communities,” said Merkley. “This funding will support new and existing projects intended to help thin Oregon’s overgrown forests, support better ecosystems, reduce the threat of severe wildfires, and create more jobs. I’ll continue to do all I can to ensure Oregon receives the funding needed to promote and support healthy forests to keep our communities safe before, during, and after wildfire season.”
“With firefighters still battling blazes throughout our state at the end of September, the need for wildfire prevention work is clearly top priority business for Oregon communities,” Wyden said. “This federal investment in forest resiliency will help to achieve that goal of reducing wildfire risks by employing Oregonians to attack the fuels that accelerate these destructive blazes. And I’m going to keep pressing federal agencies to use recent funding increases I worked to include in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for the comprehensive strategy needed so urgently to address wildfire prevention and firefighter shortages.”
Merkley, as Chairman of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, and Wyden, as a senior member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, secured these investments in wildland fire management in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The funding is targeted to increase fuels treatment in areas with high wildfire hazard potential, helping to protect homes and businesses in the wildland-urban interface and public drinking water. These efforts will promote climate resiliency across landscapes and communities, and will employ Tribal members, youth, and veterans.