Wildfire prevention bills fizzled this Oregon legislative session despite pleas from local legislators for help after two summers of smoke undermined the health and economy of Southern Oregon.
A $6.8 million wildfire prevention bill championed by Rep. Pam Marsh, D-Ashland, to help thin forests around cities in Jackson County was the biggest casualty. Marsh is on Gov. Kate Brown’s Council on Wildfire Response.
Marsh and Rep. Kim Wallan, R-Medford, both gave impassioned pleas before the Legislature about the impact wildfires have had on Southern Oregon.
“We spent a half a billion dollars on Oregon fires last year, and we can continue to spend money on suppression, but it seems much smarter to be up-fronting costs around prevention,” Marsh said.