Home | Menu | Sign Up | Donate

The risk of severe and catastrophic fires continues to grow

Three years ago, the fast-moving, destructive Labor Day wildfires swept through Santiam Canyon and the Southern Oregon towns of Talent and Phoenix, forcing people to flee at a moment's notice. The fires claimed nine lives, destroyed thousands of homes and businesses, and were the most destructive series of simultaneous wildfires in Oregon's history.

While I'm encouraged by the ongoing rebuilding efforts and doing everything I can to make sure people have the resources they need to recover, we need to do more to ensure our communities are prepared for catastrophic wildfires.

Yesterday, I introduced the Wildfire Resilient Communities Act to provide dedicated, federal support to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires and empower communities to prepare for wildfires.

The Wildfire Resilient Communities Act would create economic opportunities in forest-dependent communities while reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfires by:

  • Supporting Wildfire Reduction Projects: A $30 billion fund would provide stability and allow the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and other land management agencies to increase the pace and scale of catastrophic wildfire reduction projects.
  • Working with Local Communities: This legislation would reauthorize the Community Wildfire Defense Grant Program, tripling funds up to $3 billion, and help local communities plan and prepare for wildfires.
  • Reauthorizing Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Projects: Permanently reauthorizing the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program will allow more projects to receive funding in a given fiscal year.
  • Creating a County Stewardship Fund: The fund will provide payments to counties equal to 25 percent of stewardship contract receipts on federal land within their counties.

Climate chaos is creating longer, hotter, and more severe fire seasons across Oregon and the West, and we need to be prepared. So, I'm standing up to protect our communities by working with my colleagues in the U.S. Senate to pass the Wildfire Resilient Communities Act.



Posted on September 8, 2023.

Born in the small town of Myrtle Creek, Oregon, Jeff Merkley has never lost touch with his working class roots.

As a U.S. Senator, he works every day to create opportunity for working families, stop the corruption of our democracy, and tackle the climate crisis.

A workhorse and a progressive champion, Jeff Merkley is leading a movement to get our country back on track.

Meet Jeff

Take Action