Ron takes wildfire tour throughout Oregon

From the Columbia Gorge to southwestern Oregon, Ron last weekend visited fire camps and emergency operations centers set up to fight the wildfires raging throughout the state this September.

Ron thanked the thousands of hardworking men and women mobilized to battle the blazes, protecting Oregonians’ lives and property as well as the state’s world-renowned natural treasures.

“I often talk about the Oregon Way … where Oregonians step up and make sure our friends and neighbors are not in jeopardy,” he said at the Multnomah County Emergency Operations Center established in Troutdale to deal with the Eagle Creek fire in the Gorge. “We are going to stay at it until we finish the job.”

The senator stressed both the importance of securing near-term emergency funding for this year’s wildfires and the urgent need for a long-term fix for the broken and outdated system of how the federal government funds wildfires.

He noted that the current round of wildfires – in which one-third of the 1.5 million acres then ablaze in the United States are in Oregon – has generated momentum for his long-time work to end “fire borrowing.” Ron opposes siphoning away fire prevention money and has long advocated funding the largest wildfires from a similar disaster account used to fund other natural disasters.

“We are absolutely determined to finally end this awful practice of fire borrowing where you constantly are raiding the prevention fund,” he said in Brookings after a briefing on the Chetco Bar fire in Curry County.

In addition to visiting the Chetco Bar fire camp in Curry County and the Eagle Creek fire camp in Hood River County, Ron also received a statewide fire briefing at the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center in Portland and toured the Jones fire camp in Lowell in Lane County.

And in Southern Oregon, he met with first responders at the east side fire camp in Josephine County for the Chetco Bar fire and with first responders and local officials on the west side of that fire in Jospehine County. Hw also visited the Miller Complex fire camp in Jackson County.

Joining him in Hood River was Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, U.S. Reps. Peter DeFazio and Greg Walden, and new U.S. Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke. Tooke joined Ron on many of his remaining fire visits.