Merkley, Wyden: Over $600,000 Coming to Oregon for Crucial Wildfire Risk Reduction Projects

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced a total of $661,720 coming to Oregon from the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). These funds will be split across three projects in the state to support wildfire risk reduction, habitat restoration, and collaborative prescribed fires. These investments will strengthen forest health, protect public lands, and restore essential ecosystems harmed by past wildfires.   

“As wildfire seasons become increasingly longer and hotter—threatening communities across Oregon—investing in projects to help increase fire resilience and tackle the effects of climate chaos are more essential than ever,” said Merkley, Chair of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds the USFS.  “Restoring these landscapes will help prevent wildfires from exploding into megafires, protecting Oregonians, homes, and businesses.” 

“These wildfires aren’t your grandfather’s fires—they ignite quickly and burn hotter for longer,” Wyden said. “I’m gratified to see these funds go to fuel reduction projects that will protect public lands and strengthen forest health for generations of Oregonians to come.”

The USFS is investing in a total of 64 projects across the nation that will restore healthy forests and help prevent increasingly intense wildfires as part of their Landscape Scale Restoration program, which restores forests on state, private, and tribal lands. 

Information on the awards coming to Oregon can be found below: 

  • The Bear Wallow RestorationProject  will receive $300,000 to reduce the risk of wildfires in the Gilchrist State Forest—which is adjacent to the Fremont-Winema National Forest and the Deschutes National Forest—by removing trees to reduce fuel loads, clearing out ladder fuels, and improving ecosystem health.    
  • The Fostering a Future for Fish and Forests Project will receive $290,514 to collaboratively restore 28 square miles of wetland ecosystems along 4.8 miles of stream in the North Fork Eagle Creek watershed. Additionally, clearing out 112 acres of overgrown tree farms will reduce highly flammable undergrowth and the wood will be used to improve habitat and stream conditions for fish.   
  • The Cooperative Burning in Southwest Oregon Project efforts will receive $71,206 to foster collaboration on prescribed fires between landowners, agencies, and Tribal nations to reduce the risk of wildfires in a high priority landscape.