FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 15, 2014
Roseburg, OR – Today, the Communities for Healthy Forests, Inc. (CHF), with support from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Inc. (SFI), held a ceremony celebrating the restoration of the Douglas Complex fire devastation area.
The Douglas Complex wildfires gripped the State of Oregon in August of 2013, threatening homes, and forcing evacuations and road closures. Approximately 3,000 firefighters were called-in to battle the fires, including the National Guard, but were hampered by the extremely rugged terrain. While firefighters successfully defended homes, lingering smoke following the wildfire posed a health risk, and precipitated the distribution of 20,000 respiration masks by the Red Cross to the residents of southern Oregon. By August 6th, 2013, the Douglas Complex fire and neighboring fires had burned 144,688 acres in Oregon.
“Through the help of an SFI Conservation and Community Partnership Grant, today’s tree planting will include local community leaders, students, area landowners, and the general public, all of whom were directly affected by the wildfire,” said Kathy Abusow, CEO of SFI Inc. “The project is intended to rebuild the destroyed ecosystem by replanting native trees and monitoring forest recovery over the span of three years.”
“The Douglas Complex fire left profound destruction in its wake, and we will need to be proactive to restore the landscape and help avoid future catastrophic fires,” said CHF Chairman, Lee Paterson one of the founders of CHF. His enthusiasm was echoed by Javier Goirigolzarri, a Certified Forester who works with CHF, “We are thrilled to work with local families and leaders to begin forest restoration, and we’re especially excited about the support from SFI.”
As part of the restoration effort, 50 fifth graders from Fir Grove Elementary and SFI program participants, Plum Creek and Swanson Group, today joined CHF, the Bureau of Land Management, Roseburg Forest Products, Douglas County, the Society of American Foresters and others for a tree planting ceremony.
Since 2010, SFI has awarded more than 50 conservation partnership grants totaling more than $1.9 million to support projects that promote sustainable forestry practices and engage communities. When leveraged with project partner contributions, that total investment exceeds $7.1 million.
For more information, please visit www.communitiesforhealthyforests.org/home.