DRAFT Wallowa County Community Wildfire Protection Plan Released!

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Regardless how long you have lived or held property in Wallowa County, you probably know we live in a fire-prone landscape​ - meaning fires, whether caused naturally or by humans, have kept our forests and landscapes in balance and thriving. Frequent, low intensity fires would burn through ​our region - and maintained a complex and diverse forest system.​ ​However, for the last century fire has largely been removed from the landscape. ​ ​This disruption, in addition to a history of extractive high grade logging - has left unnaturally high tree densities and hazardous fuels throughout our woodlands.​ Further, as our communities continue to grow, more people each day ​are building their lives and homes in these high fire prone areas.

Wallowa County just unveiled its Draft "Community Wildfire Protection Plan" (CWPP) at a public meeting with over 40 community members and partners.  The CWPP is a plan that helps our community identify where the high fire prone areas are located - but then goes into the next steps of ​how we, as a community, can live harmoniously with wildfire. W​​hat​ steps can we take ​to make sure our​ individual lands, public lands - and our entire communities are resilient and fire adapted - and ready to survive a fire?  “We live in a fire dependent ecosystem," said ODF Wallowa Unit Forester Matt Howard, "We all have a choice: to be proactive or reactive. ”  

 

  • COMMUNITIES RANKED AS EXTREME RISK FOR WILDFIRE

(1) Allen Canyon/Bear Creek/Minam (2) Imnaha Cooridor (3) Lostine Canyon and (4) Wallowa Lake/Ski Run

  • COMMUNITIES RANKED AS HIGH RISK FOR WILDFIRE

(1) Alder Slope (2) David Creek (3) Divide/Upper Prarire Creek and (4) Joseph

 

To learn more about what you can do to make your property fire resilient - here are some excellent resources to get you started:

  • Great Article from the Cheiftan on the CWPP Meeting and a community in Wallowa County on their way to becoming the first Firewise Community in Northeast Oregon. Becoming a Firewise Community is an effective way to bring your neighborhood together to think about preparing for a wildfire.

One community is already addressing those risks. Lostine has become the first community in northeast Oregon to begin the process of becoming an official “Firewise” community. “What these folks are doing for the Lostine, I hope will be a model,” said Howard. “They are working together to make their homes and properties more resilient to wild land fire. They will work through an evacuation plan. If a fire threatens their communities, they will have a plan, they won’t have to think it up as they go.”

  • Interested in finding funding to reduce fuels and make your property fire resistant and defensible, or your whole neigbhorhood becoming a Firewise Community? Contact foresters Eric Carlson (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Tim Cudmore (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to learn more!

 

If you were not able to make it to the meeting or would like to share - an audio recording and Powerpoint Presentation of the meeting are available  

 

Please send comments on the draft to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; there will also be an open public hearing on the CWPP on Monday, March 5th @ 9 AM at the Wallowa County Commissioner's Office (C.J. Thorton Conference Room at the Wallowa County Courthouse [101 S. River Street]).  If there are no issues that arise from the public meeting - the plan will be adopted on March 19th.  There will also be an opening hearing for the Planning Department on April 16th @ 9 AM.  

 
 

To dig even further, the Draft Plan is located below:  

Table of Contents 

Chapter 1 - Introduction 

Chapter 2 - Mission, Goals & Objective 

Chapter 3 - Wildland, Urban Interface Planning

Chapter 4 - Wallowa County Profile 

Chapter 5 - Community Collaboration & Participation 

Chapter 6 - Wildfire Risk Assessment 

Chapter 7 - Communities at Risk and WUI Zone Priority Setting

Chapter 8 -  Mitigation Action Items 

Chapter 9 - Forest Conditions and Fuels Treatment Options

Chapter 10 - Accomplishments & Challenges

Chapter 11 - Emergency Management 

* Appendices are available upon request

 

Note: Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs) are the result of the Healthy Forest Restoration Act of 2003 which, as part of a historical bipartisan legislative effort, call for communities to collaborate with state and local agencies to determine priorities for hazardous fuels projects on federal and private lands in the wildland-urban interface (WUI). It also allows communities to develop and list priorities that affect their ability to survive a wildland fire in their area.

For more information or questions: please contact Matt Howard, Oregon Department of Forestry Unit Forester at (541)886-2881; or Paul Karvoski, Wallowa County Emergency Manager/County Fire Chief at (541)426-4543 ext 165.

 

 

2016 Operators of the Year

2016 Operators of the Year: Helping people and protecting natural resources

Contact: Ken Armstrong, Public Affairs Director, 503-945-7420;; Kyle Abraham, Interim Private Forests Deputy Division Chief, 503-945-7473

The 2016 Operators of the Year are B&C Logging of Baker City, Wayne Stone Logging, Inc. of Sandy, and Plikat Logging, Inc. of Camas Valley. Operator of the Year Awards are given by the Board of Forestry to recognize forestry operators for responsible, innovative, proactive work that protects natural resources.

To encourage sound forestry, the board honors operators who consistently meet or exceed the Forest Practices Act law. The law requires people to: replant forests; harvest responsibly; protect and enhance habitat; reduce landslide risks; and protect streams and water quality. Regional committees select operators of the year and merit award recipients. 

Private Forests Division Chief Lena Tucker said, “These operators set the example. They show how operators can both manage forests and protect natural resources. We’re pleased to honor their exemplary work.”

B&C Logging earned the Eastern Oregon Area Operator of the Year award for helping landowners after the Stices Gulch wildfire and protecting fish streams.  B&C’s work also improved public safety, because they removed trees damaged by the wildfire from urban areas. (Video: https://youtu.be/LSB7z-_-dUc)

Plikat Logging earned the Southern Oregon Area Operator of the Year award for protecting a fish-bearing stream and its buffer while using a suspended cable system to move logs and minimize ground impact. Plikat’s planning and careful work left the land ready for replanting. (Video: https://youtu.be/cwwpQzpcPrc

Wayne Stone Logging earned the Northwest Oregon Area Operator of the Year award for protecting water quality and taking extra efforts to prevent fires. Stone safely completed a difficult downhill harvest. (Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81WgwqJ8fSA )

All nominees exceeded the Forest Practices requirements to help improve Oregon’s forests. The committees issued Merit Awards for excellent work to Mike Pihl Logging Company, Inc. of Veronia (video: https://youtu.be/OkY-EjA77HQ), Western Helicopter Services, Inc. of Newberg and Starker Forests, Inc. of Corvallis (video: https://youtu.be/5njgK20Rrq0), and B&M Timber of Burns (video: https://youtu.be/zhp41CteXSY).

The Board of Forestry will present the Operator of the Year Awards at its March 8 meeting. The Associated Oregon Loggers, the Oregon Logging Conference and the Oregon Small Woodland Association will also provide special recognition. In 1971, Oregon enacted the Forest Practices Act, the nation’s model forest management laws which focuses on forest operations and protecting natural resources. Many states followed Oregon’s lead. The Act remains current through updates based on science, facts and values to create a balanced approach to natural resource management.