Deremer celebrates renewal of wildfire response plan

Congresswoman Lori Chavez-DeRemer
Press Release,

Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (OR-05) joined Oregon’s congressional delegation, including Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, and Reps. Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, and Andrea Salinas, in applauding the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), and Forest Protective Agencies (FPAs) for reaching a renewed five-year commitment to the Western Oregon Operating Plan (WOOP).

The WOOP is a long-term agreement governing fire response for the BLM, ODF, and FPAs across western Oregon. As the previous iteration of the WOOP was set to expire on June 30, the Oregon delegation joined together to encourage the parties to work in close partnership to secure another agreement that would continue their coordination and preparedness — including in their April letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning — which helped lead to a successful long-term renewal of the WOOP.

“As our communities continue to deal with the impacts of fire seasons that are coming earlier, and fires that are burning more frequently and with catastrophic intensity, it was imperative to reach this new agreement that will continue to provide a significant level of long-term stability for communities throughout western Oregon. These communities require reliable and consistent plans to carry out crucial long-term planning and operational tasks that will better prepare them for wildfire risks in the future, and we are confident this five-year reauthorization of the WOOP will continue this mission,” the Oregon delegation said. “The agreement emphasizes interagency cooperation to continue a Wildland Fire Strategy that meets the needs of the communities in western Oregon that are nestled within some of the highest risk firesheds in the country. We applaud the Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Department of Forestry, and many Forest Protective Associations who came together to work out an agreement to help Oregonians be prepared for and combat wildfire threats in the years to come.”

The WOOP is a multi-agency agreement that has proven essential for over a century in the state. It is especially important in southwestern Oregon, which has a checkerboard ownership pattern of BLM forest lands in the western region that is unique and creates approximately 14,000 miles of jurisdictional boundaries between federal, tribal, state, county, and private timberlands. The complexity of managing fires throughout this area led to agreements to provide protection by the ODF and non-profit FPAs dating back to at least 1914. This agreement ensures that these federally contracted partners are compensated and equipped with the resources necessary to provide enhanced initial attack capability during a wildfire to protect public, private, and tribal resources throughout the state.