Willamina Creek Fire has engulfed 230 acres since it began an early Thursday morning in August 2015. The fact that there are so many fires currently blazing in the western United States has limited available resources including firefighter personnel, access to water has been limited due to current drought conditions being experienced by all states in the Western portion of the United States. The cybersphere has been aflame with images, articles and testimonials of workers, homeowners and concerned citizens. Some of the more humane articles are the focus on providing shelter and air-quality environments for the elderly and individuals who need medical assistance due to exposure to smoke and the fire. It is as of this writing, 75% contained, and the unified effort of all of the workers for this fire are deeply appreciated and a resounding THANK YOU needs to be heard throughout the region.
However, Oregon is a timber state, a significant portion of it’s exports are within the timber industry and affiliated by-products. A local group the Confederated tribe of the Grand Ronde have posted a statement that their timber interests are being closed as a response to the fires. As an aftereffect of this closure will adversely affect projected production and employment within their organization
In a casual interview with a representative of a major lumber company within the region; the ranking of the Bureau of Land Management Industrial Fire Precaution Level Four was explained to this writer. Apparently, the BLM has been placing the Oregonian region under this level multiple times moving from a Level 3 to Level 4, which means shutdown of lands administered by the BLM. In Oregon, a majority of the BLM land is available for contracting with local lumber companies. These companies and their employees rely on the harvesting of lumber. With the precaution set in place, it basically shuts down the the company. For an area whose residents rely heavily on lumber industry this can spell misfortune on economic conditions for individuals and families. Ultimately trickling to less expendable income hence affecting the community as a whole.
In conclusion, these wildfires are more damaging than property damage and projected income loss. Once again, Oregon relies heavily on its timber industry, and these fires are very difficult to recover from emotionally, financially, and physically.