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Chetco Bar Fire

A sign near the fire camp shows support for firefighters battling the Chetco Bar Fire in Brookings last September.

PORTLAND – Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced, on Feb. 9, a $50,000 federal grant to help develop an economic recovery plan for Curry County, which was severely impacted by the massive Chetco Bar wildfire that burned through the summer and fall last year.

“This funding will help Brookings and other communities on the road to recovery from an historic wildfire season,” Merkley said. “Meanwhile, I will continue to fight to fix broken wildfire policies and invest in fire prevention, and step up our commitment to preventing out-of-control blazes in future years.”

“After seeing firsthand the devastation last fall of the Chetco Bar wildfire, it became clear that Brookings and all of Curry County needed help to recover,” Wyden said. “I am gratified this grant will aid in that recovery and am committed to pulling out all the stops toward achieving a long-term and long-overdue repair of our country’s broken system of funding wildfire prevention.”

The $50,000 Economic Development Administration grant will finance half of a $100,000 Chetco Bar Fire Economic Impact Analysis and Recovery Plan, which will assess the economic impacts of the 2017 Chetco Bar wildfire that ravaged nearly 200,000 acres of the Siskiyou National Forest from July through November 2017. The county was blanketed in severe smoke; faced mandatory evacuations; and experienced vast damage to its natural areas.

Once completed, the study will bring together the public and private sectors with an economic development roadmap aimed at strengthening the regional economy; supporting private capital investment; and creating jobs throughout the region.

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