Oregon receiving $38M to address growing ‘wildfire crisis’


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Oregon is set to receive over $38 million in federal funding to reduce the threat of wildfires in three targeted areas across the state.

The funding is part of a nationwide effort, under the United States Forest Service’s Wildfire Crisis Strategy, to encourage wildfire resiliency in 21 locations across the United States, including Central Oregon, the Klamath Basin, and areas near Mt. Hood.

The funding comes as Oregon has faced increased wildfire and smoke threats in recent years, driven by “intensified climate chaos,” Oregon senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden said in a Feb. 22 press release announcing the funding.

Central Oregon will receive $18,000,000, the Klamath River Basin will receive $15,470,000, and the Mt. Hood area will receive $4,970,000, officials announced.

“In Oregon and across the West, our homes, businesses, and natural treasures are facing increasingly severe wildfires as climate chaos endangers our communities,” Merkley said. “Virtually every Oregonian has encountered, to some degree, the escalating danger posed by wildfires to our well-being, economies, and ecosystems. With extreme wildfire seasons showing no signs of ending, there is an urgent need to significantly boost investments aimed at fortifying our forests, timber industries, and communities – enhancing their health and resilience.”

Sen. Wyden added, “I fought hard to secure these critical investments to reduce the threat of wildfire to our communities. The importance of these preventative resources is evident as we head into what is expected to be another especially dry summer in the Pacific Northwest.” MAX service returns to PDX as TriMet wraps east section of ‘Better Red’ project

“Not only does this funding help protect Oregon communities from deadly infernos, it preserves intact landscapes that provide drinking water, recreation opportunities and climate resilience for millions of Oregonians,” Wyden furthered.

With funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, the plan will allow national forests to work with communities and tribes to start projects focused on reducing wildfire risk and improving forest health.

An additional $100 million will be allocated under the newly formed Collaborative Wildfire Risk Reduction Program to expand work in high-risk wildfire areas outside of the 21 priority zones, including areas in Oregon.