Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced a total of $41.3 million headed to Central Oregon to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire. Senator Merkley, as Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the U.S. Forest Service, and Senator Wyden, who is a senior member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, had a key role in authoring wildfire-related sections of the bipartisan infrastructure law, which is the source of this funding.
“Oregon’s forests and surrounding communities have been devastated by catastrophic wildfires, which have threatened homes and businesses and severely impacted Oregonians’ quality of life,” said Merkley. “Healthy forests sustain our economy, protect our drinking water, and provide places for recreation throughout the state. This funding will fill a critical gap in wildfire response and recovery by investing in restoring these landscapes and making it harder for wildfires to explode into megafires. I’ll keep fighting to make sure Oregon gets the support it needs to reduce the risk of severe wildfire to our communities and businesses.”
“Central Oregon families and small businesses know all too well how wildfires have ripped through their communities, threatening lives and livelihoods,” said Wyden. “These urgently needed federal resources will help reduce these risks by investing in smart and scientifically proven strategies to prepare for and respond to these destructive blazes. And I’ll keep battling to provide similar investments throughout our state.”
The Deschutes National Forest will receive $4.5 million in funding this year to treat an additional 5,000 acres or land, and expects a total of $41.3 million between fiscal years 2022, 2023, and 2024 to fund the treatment of more than 50,000 acres. The Deschutes National Forest is one of 10 landscapes the Department of Agriculture and U.S. Forest Service selected to receive $131 million in investments from the bipartisan infrastructure law to launch the implementation of the Wildfire Crisis Strategy, beginning fiscal year 2022.