Summer was humming along with strong RevPar and occupancy performance for Oregon’s lodging industry – then came a late spree of Oregon wildfires.
It should come as no surprise that active forest management (especially in Oregon’s federally owned forests) will have to become a higher priority as part of ORLA’s advocacy efforts. Our wildfire season will end up costing hundreds of millions of dollars for direct fire suppression alone. This doesn’t include the alarming impacts these natural disasters have on the environment, paychecks, and jobs within the tourism industry.
The facts at the time of this writing are as follows:
Thankfully, many of Oregon’s elected leaders realize more must be done. Many of the facts shared in the bullet points above were included as part of a recent editorial in the Statesman Journal by State Representative Sherrie Sprenger.
In her comments, Representative Sprenger made a valiant case for stronger levels of active forest management in federal owned forests in particular. In a recent conversation with an ORLA member in Brookings, he mentioned the cost estimates to contain the Chetco Bar Fire alone will most likely exceed $100 million.
It begs the question – what can we do collectively as Oregonians to make sure appropriate funding is in place for active forest management? What can be done to ensure Oregon’s federally owned forests are not tinderboxes just waiting for the next lightning strike?
Clearly more needs to be done to bring collective voices together that can speak to the importance of more active forest management in an effort to protect Oregon’s natural resources. In the coming months, ORLA will be working with statewide elected leaders and other industry groups to formulate solutions that we hope result in fewer road closures and negative impacts to Oregon’s forests and communities.
In the meantime, we hope you consider assisting those who have been directly impacted by the tumultuous season. Visit Travel Oregon’s wildfire page at http://bit.ly/OTCwf for the latest information and resource links where those less impacted can support those in the industry who have been hit hard by Oregon's wildfires. To support the families that have had to evacuate, contact the Cascades Chapter of the Red Cross at redcross.org/local/oregon.