Unprecedented wildfires bring Oregonians together

The wildfires that erupted in Oregon on Labor Day weekend were some of the most devastating in recent history. In response, Oregonians came together to help those in need, including Oregon’s timber companies that were also fighting wildfires on their own land and helping local firefighters protect lives, communities, and other property with more than 650 employees and over 350 pieces of privately-owned equipment.

Boise Cascade Wood Products offered to match $100,000 in donations to assist people affected by fires in Southern Oregon. The Medford Mail Tribune reports that the offer spurred $167,136 in contributions in just one week. In total: Boise Cascade and community members raised $267,136 for a local social service agency to provide food, housing and shelter for Jackson County residents.

“We were heartened and humbled by the outpouring of support we received. Boise Cascade’s matching donation was an inspiration to so many in our community to help their neighbors who have lost so much,” said Kellie Battaglia in the article, development director for ACCESS. “We are very proud and lucky to be a part of this giving community.”

Douglas Timber Operators partnered with the Umpqua Fishery Enhancement Derby within days of the Archie Creek Fire’s ignition. The intent for their partnership was to provide rapid financial assistance to people who had lost everything in the fire. In total, the DTO/UFED Fire Relief Fund has generated more than $200,000 for local support to help victims of the Archie Creek Fire.

To date, the Fund has made nearly 100 allocations, including direct assistance to fire-affected families, $10,000 in food and gas cards, and supplies for restaurants that provided free meals in Glide and Sutherlin during the fire. Even the processing fees charged by the online portal are repaid into the fund by DTO membership dues.

Hampton Lumber donated wood chips for evacuated animals at Polk and Yamhill County fairgrounds. Domesticated farm animals also needed safe and comfortable environments as refuge from the wildfires.

Lone Rock Resources also had 50 of their operational employees join the firefighting efforts a week after the fires began. They also sent more than 20 pieces of their own equipment to help firefighters secure fire lines and cool hotspots. “In situations like this when the state and federal resources are spread so thin, if we didn’t have those industrial resources, we would have so many more losses in those communities,” said company president Toby Luther to KEZI.

Rayonier contributed $80,000 for disaster relief to the American Red Cross, the Marion Polk Food Share, and the Oregon Food bank. The contribution assisted communities impacted not only by the wildfires in the Pacific Northwest, but also recent hurricanes in the Gulf Coast.

“Many rural communities, already struggling in the face of the global pandemic, are now dealing with the devastating impact of these natural disasters,” said Doug Long in a press release, Sr. Vice President, Forest Resources. “Families have lost loved ones, their homes, and their jobs. Rayonier is committed to support the relief efforts and help these communities where we live and work get back on their feet.”

Seneca, a family owned timber company, had thousands of acres of valuable timberlands at risk. However, when the Holiday Farm Fire struck Linn and Lane counties, the company sprang into action to help its neighbors, employees and their animals. The company booked hotel rooms for those who were evacuated, found temporary “foster” homes for people’s pets and livestock and then turned to make sure the Red Cross and other community volunteers had what they needed. Then Seneca’s employees, including CEO Todd Payne, joined the front lines to fight and contain fires.

Weyerhaeuser employees and contractors were on the ground directly supporting fire lines while the wildfires were active across Oregon. Additional employees were staged for assignment as soon as conditions improved in other areas.

In addition to fire containment, Weyerhaeuser also supported the Marion Polk Food Share with a $15,000 matching donation for the Food Share’s wildfire response effort, making food available at many local pantries and meal sites for families in need. Corrina Hawkins with the Food Share said that Weyerhaeuser’s donation provided 45,000 additional meals for families.

Weyerhaeuser also contributed to nine other organizations helping wildfire victims in Southern Oregon for a combined donation of $100,000. They have also made an immediate donation of $150,000 to the Red Cross to support emergency efforts, and contributed $200,000 for the Oregon Community Foundation to support long-term recovery efforts.