Friday, July 30, at World Forestry Center, Gov. Kate Brown ceremonially signed Senate Bill 762, comprehensive legislation passed with bipartisan support that will provide more than $220 million to help Oregon modernize and improve wildfire preparedness through three key strategies: creating fire-adapted communities, developing safe and effective responses, and increasing the resiliency of Oregon’s landscapes. The bill is the product of years of hard work by the Governor’s Wildfire Council, the Legislature, and state agencies.
“Wildfire is inevitable, but how we prepare for and respond to fires is in our control,” said Brown. “There is absolutely no question that Oregon has one of the the best wildfire response systems in the country. But, as we responded to these fires over the last few years from Chetco Bar to the Substation fire, it was clear we were battling with tools used in the century. We simply were not equipped to fight the fires of this new age, which are faster and more fierce, and fueled by the impacts of climate change. We needed to modernize our approach.
"This $220 million investment means building fire-adapted communities, improving our wildfire response, and creating healthier and more resilient landscapes. We know that for every dollar we spend on fire prevention, our investment is returned elevenfold in saved costs.
"We still have a lot of work ahead of us to implement this bill. However, we are laying the roadmap and devoting the resources needed to transform our approach to meet the challenges of this new era of wildfire. Senate Bill 762 exemplifies the proposition that by working together, we can create a safer, stronger, and more fire resilient Oregon."