Topping wildfire list


Last updated 3/21/2023 at Noon

Sisters District Ranger Ian Reid reported last week that the Sisters fire-shed has been identified as number one in the state which means, with provided funding, the district and their partners will develop long term goals and action plans for maximizing the effectiveness of treatments at the landscape scale to reduce the risk of wildfire.

Reid added that “a lot of the important work (maybe 40-50 percent) has already been completed in Sisters fire-shed but it will be important for the rest of the work to get done and for the long term maintenance of the treatments to occur.”

A fire-shed is land around a community where wildfire ignitions could cause fires to spread into the community. Given that fires have started in numerous locations around Sisters in the past, it’s not difficult to understand why the area received the number-one designation, which is likely one of the reasons Sisters Ranger District received funding for fuels treatment. According to Reid, the strong partnerships forged by the district, and past success are also likely reasons.

Research has been conducted nationally that evaluates the extent to which landscape fuel treatments mitigate adverse effects of wildfire, provide opportunities to manage fire for beneficial effects of wildfire, provide opportunities for cost efficient fire suppression strategies, maximize fire responder safety, provide results to inform future fuel treatment planning, and identify research gaps.

The Pacific Northwest Wildfire Crisis Strategy builds on the shared stewardship work of the state and the USFS to understand the nuances of wildfire risk and clearly communicate the places where most urgent action is needed. Central Oregon was identified as one of 10 areas in the nation where Congress has agreed to invest heavily in treatment of hazardous fuels.

Sisters Furry Friends Foundation

According to the USFS Pacific Northwest Region website, they have “been working to manage the health of national forests across the region for decades, but the scale and methods of work on the ground have not matched the need. Overgrown forests, a warming climate, and a growing number of homes in the wildland-urban interface, following more than a century of rigorous fire suppression, have all contributed to what is now a full-blown wildfire and forest health crisis.”

Over five million acres of PNW Region Forest Service lands need to be treated for hazardous fuels but the capacity to treat is not keeping pace with the needs. The wildfire crisis requires the new investments be strategically focused at landscape-scale where the work will have the greatest impact protecting communities and infrastructure most at risk. Sisters has been identified as one of those critical areas.

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