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2024 Oregon Logging Conference Resolution – Fighting Fires on U.S. Forest Service Land

This resolution was presented and approved during the Thursday morning (February 22, 2024) OLC breakfast. Linn County Commissioner Sherrie Sprenger presented this resolution.

A resolution by the Oregon Logging Conference Regarding the urgency of fighting fires on US Forest Service Lands

WHEREAS, 3,403,466 acres in Oregon have burned in just the past five years (2018-2022) and roughly 85% of that was on federal land;

WHEREAS, there have been many questions raised in the media and the public about the hesitancy of the US Forest Service to aggressively engage in firefighting on Forest Service land in the in early stages of forest fires;

WHEREAS, many believe that the hesitancy to fight the fires early on by the US Forest Service has led to the extreme growth of the fires;

WHEREAS, forest fires endanger private property and human life;

WHEREAS, forest fires cause economic and health related negative impacts from smoke, disproportionately impacting disadvantaged communities;

WHEREAS, forest fires contribute to the carbon emissions that we are working to minimize in other parts of our society;

WHEREAS, a Memorandum of Understanding has been declared between the National Alliance of Forest Owners and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service, Washington Office, State, Private and Tribal Forestry, and supported by the Chief of the Forest service;

WHEREAS, the MOU states that NAFO and the U.S. Forest Service share a mutual interest in working with private resources and are mutually committed to the following:

1. Sustainable Forest management and the long-term health of natural resources including clean air, clean water, and wildlife habitat.

2. Prioritizing the safety and protection of communities, critical infrastructure, timberlands, air and water quality, wildlife habitat, and other valuable public and private assets.

3. The importance of forests to climate mitigation and the value of maintaining and increasing mitigation benefits over time.

4. The urgency of finding enduring solutions to address the threats of drought, fire, and other natural disturbances that jeopardize the environment, communities, businesses, private property, and social well-being.

5. Effective, efficient, and safe fire suppression operations optimizing the use of available resources through close coordination, communication, prioritization, and execution.

6. Pooling and optimizing firefighting personnel and assets to strengthen initial attack and seek to achieve full suppression through initial attack during the fire season.

7. A strong partnership to achieve these mutual objectives.

WHEREAS, the MOU is the beginning of changing the attitudes and culture of the US Forest Service from the top down.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Oregon Logging Conference endorse Federal HR 934 introduced by Representatives McClintock and LaMalfa, that requires the Forest Service to aggressively attack fires when they are first detected in forests when they are a severe fire hazard.