We all remember the historic fires of 2020; they raged across Oregon, burned more than a million acres, destroyed homes and businesses, and filled the skies with thick, gray smoke for weeks.
Now, the Oregon Forest Protective Association is being recognized for its untiring efforts to protect our communities.
Each year the Oregon Society of American Foresters presents its Forestry Appreciation Award to groups or individuals that significantly contributed to the advancement of forestry in Oregon. This year, The Oregon Forest Protective Association was the recipient.
The Oregon Forest Protective Association, founded in 1910, has become known as Oregon’s Complete and Coordinated Fire Protection System bringing together forest landowners, the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), and other cooperating public agencies. These groups all communicate with ODF and mobilize as soon as possible to attack fires, using their own equipment and personnel.
When the Labor Day fires of 2020 grew out of control, the Oregon Forest Protective Association stepped up, according to Kyle Williams, Director of Forest Protection for Oregon Forest & Industries Council.
“Private timber industry employees and landowners immediately engaged on the hundreds of miles of fire line throughout the state—those woods workers who would normally be managing an operation, laying out a unit, running a log-loading shovel, building road with an excavator, setting chokers or thinning young forest stands—hauled over 350 pieces of equipment and deployed over 650 trained personnel to the fires and pitched in side by side with ODF and USFS firefighters in what became an incredible example of the complete and coordinated system,” said Williams.
OFPA’s members accepted the Forestry Appreciation Award at the virtual Annual Meeting on May 13, 2021. Congratulations to the Oregon Forest Protective Association on your award. Oregon is fortunate to have this private/public partnership working for us.