MEDFORD, Ore. — A 280- page report issued this week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture warns that climate change could bring more massive wildfires and insect destruction of forests in the next 25 years.
Officials with the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management say they are managing forest lands in this area with that threat in mind. They say southwest Oregon, with it’s drier climate, makes it ripe for climate change impacts, and private industry says thinning projects are too little, too late.
“As you go through and you look at each project, you do try to consider what it’s gonna look like 20…30…50 years from now. Again, build that resiliency in to fight off fires,” explained Medford BLM Spokesman, Jim Whittington
“Yeah, it’s a real mess out there and it’s gonna get worse if we don’t get something, I hate the word ‘pro-active’, but we’re gonna have to get in front of it somewhere, because reacting has not been the answer,” stated Dave Schott, with the Southern Oregon Timber Industries Association.
The report comes from more than a thousand studies as part of the National Climate Assessment.