As in so many areas in the American West, the fire regimes of Oregon’s Upper Deschutes Basin are moderately to severely altered. Over 63% of the landscape suffers from the alteration of key ecosystem components. To add to the challenge, the project area encompasses a complex wildland-urban interface zone, demanding a coordinated effort among all partners.
With so many ownerships in this 2-million-acre landscape, land managers need access to data in a single, user-friendly place. Thanks to the Deschutes team and support from the U.S. Fire Learning Network, firefighters, land managers, homeowners and others now have access to reams of valuable information from more than 20 different organizations. The solution is called the Central Oregon Fire Atlas, a powerful, CD-based tool that consolidates decades of data from local fire departments, federal agencies, state forests and Tribes. Users can pinpoint the data they need and adapt it to suit their purpose, including public education, fire prevention, fire response planning and fuels treatment.
The mapping project also fostered increased communication and cooperation among federal forest managers, community leaders and local citizens. People are finding that the goals of restoring healthy forests for fish and wildlife, removing the fuels that intensify wildfire behavior, and generating jobs in the woods—both from harvest and restoration work—can all be met with thoughtful plans and sound practices.
Learn more about the Conservancy’s work in Oregon.October 25, 2010