Wildfire Crisis Strategy: Central Oregon Landscape

Map of Central Oregon landscapeThe Forest Service has launched a robust, 10-year strategy to squarely address this wildfire crisis in the places where it poses the most immediate threats to communities. The strategy, called “Confronting the Wildfire Crisis: A Strategy for Protecting Communities and Improving Resilience in America’s Forests,” combines a historic investment of congressional funding with years of scientific research and planning into a national effort that will dramatically increase the scale of forest health treatments over the next decade.

Central Oregon was chosen as one of 10 initial landscapes selected to receive $131 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) investment to begin implementation of the Wildfire Crisis Strategy in 2022. 

The Deschutes National Forest, along with State and other partners, expect to treat an additional 5,000 acres in 2022 and more than 50,000 acres by 2024.

Landscape Highlights

The Central Oregon Landscape covers State, private, and Federal lands on the eastside of the Cascades. This area is rich in collaboration and has been a leader in implementing the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration program, Joint Chief’s Projects, and National Cohesive Strategy. Additional investments will continue to reduce the risk of fire transfer to numerous, growing communities and critical infrastructure and build upon work already accomplished.

Central Oregon is experiencing the most extensive community growth in the State with some communities increasing almost 30 percent in the past 10 years. Hundreds of thousands of acres of Federal land are immediately adjacent to communities and subdivisions, which puts those communities and subdivisions at risk of fire.

Central Oregon’s economy is driven by recreation and tourism. The Deschutes National Forest is the primary destination, setting, and background for this economy. In 2021, in trail trips alone, $136 million were spent in Deschutes County. Mitigating wildland fire risks is critical to ensuring a sustainable local economy.

Central Oregon has a long history of collaborative engagement to address wildland fires and active management to minimize impacts to communities. Further investment will allow these community-based partners to build upon work already accomplished.

Mechanisms For Execution

Authority Agreements with Oregon Department of Forestry, partnership agreements with county and nongovernmental organizations, and interagency agreement with Bureau of Land Management) and 3 to 5 contracts to execute this work in FY 2022. Utilization of existing mechanisms under Joint Chiefs, Cooperative Forest Landscape Restoration Fund, Oregon Senate Bill 762, and agreement authorities paired with scheduled planning efforts are anticipated to increase pace and scale of treatment over the duration of the project.

Expected Outcomes

Cover for brochure on confronting the wildfire crisis.Implementation of landscape scale cross-boundary projects through cohesive partnerships will conserve and restore forested landscapes while reducing wildfire risk and impact to life, property, and economic assets in and adjacent to the communities of Bend (R6 Tier 1 Wildfire Risk), Sisters (#1 at risk Oregon Fireshed), Sunriver (#6 at risk Oregon Fireshed), LaPine, and Crescent.

Emphasizing forest health and reintroduction of fire on a larger scale complements restoration efforts to improve aquatic and terrestrial habitats for sensitive and listed species like Oregon spotted frog and Chinook salmon. The Deschutes National Forest is a leading member of a strong partner network that is strategically increasing holistic watershed function across public and private ownerships, supporting a reliable rural and urban water supply to the Bend Municipal Watershed amidst an exceptional drought.

Partners

  • Oregon Department of Forestry
  • Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project
  • Central Oregon Forest Stewardship Foundation
  • Deschutes Trails Coalition
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Discover Your Forest
  • Upper Deschutes Watershed Council
  • Central Oregon Shared Stewardship Alliance
  • Deschutes County
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Deschutes Land Trust
  • Walker Range Fire Patrol
  • Oregon Living with Fire
  • local municipalities

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