Oregon Town Buys Surrounding Forests to Confront Climate-Driven Wildfires

"A logger, forester and former mayor joined forces to help Butte Falls manage its forests to protect the town and build an economy supported by tourism rather than logging."

"BUTTE FALLS, Oregon—With a population of just 400 people, Butte Falls is a speck in an ocean of remote timberland, much of it burned.

The community is tucked into a vast forest of pine and fir about 35 miles from the California border. Outside town, snow-capped Mt. McLoughlin towers above a vast burn scar, where blackened trees from the South Obenchain Fire stand crookedly across miles of the Cascade Range’s foothills.

In September 2020, logger Don Hamann watched with awe as that blaze cast embers over his head in the middle of the night. Hamann, 70, ignored an evacuation notice to protect his property and that of his neighbors on a woody rise above Butte Falls.

In the light of day, Hamann could see the smoke from a separate fire burning thousands of homes in nearby Ashland and Talent, and further to the north, yet another blaze leveled the mountain community of Blue River. The Obenchain would burn 33,000 acres and skirted Butte Falls by just a quarter of a mile."

Grant Stringer reports for Inside Climate News July 9, 2023.

Source: Inside Climate News, 07/11/2023