“The U.S. Forest Service’s fire policy is resulting in catastrophic fires,” Josephine County Commissioner Lily Morgan said. “We would like a change in their policy.”
Commissioner Morgan says shes fed up with how the U.S. Forest Service runs its fire prevention practices.
“We do not want to face these fires summer after summer,” she said.
Nearly 678,000 acres of federally protected lands were burned this summer. Commissioner Morgan says those lands could have been prevented with prescribed burns and thinning.
“We know that doing prescribe burning, by doing selective forest thinning, by reducing these fuels at the ground level with the grasses and some of the bushes that we can decrease the fire risk,” she said.
They suggest that the Oregon Department of Forestry be the primary fire response managers for Southern Oregon.
“The Oregon Department of Forestry has a policy of getting fires out quickly,” she said. “They have a 90 percent success rate of keeping fires under 10 acres.”
She says the fires this summer not only hurt people’s health but also the economy.
“At the height of our tourism we are actually escaping the smoke and going other places versus welcoming people to the beauty of Oregon,” she said.
Which is why they want a policy change.
“We believe it can be done more efficiently while preserving our natural resources,” she said.
The Josephine County Board of Commissioners say they will continue to work with state and federal officials to get a policy change. They’re scheduled to vote on this resolution tomorrow morning.