Task Force partners with Jackson County organization to provide wood to low-income residents
The Almeda Fire devastated Southern Oregon, destroying thousands of homes and hundreds of businesses in Jackson County and burning thousands of trees along the greenway that connects these communities. Now, some of the fire-damaged hazard trees that were removed from the initial stages of the fire cleanup are being put to use to heat the homes of some of the area’s residents in need.
The Jackson County Fuel Committee (JCFC) is a volunteer organization comprised of forestry, timber and mill workers, low-income seasonal workers, students, teachers, clergy and other concerned community residents who aim to provide heating fuel to low-income workers and families in the Rogue Valley. Although their office in Phoenix burned in the Almeda Fire, JCFC continues to provide firewood to residents operating out of a temporary facility while they rebuild.
Following the Almeda Fire, Debris Management Task Force crews utilized a state-owned staging area directly across from JCFC’s cutting yard to store fire-damaged slash for processing. After discussion with the organization, an agreement was made to allow JCFC to access the staging yard to pull useable wood for use as part of their mission.
“It was an excellent opportunity to make as much of this wood useable to the community as possible” said Adam Stallsworth, District 3 Operations Coordinator for ODOT.
In addition to these measures, some wood from areas damaged from last year’s wildfires is being converted to energy, processed to utilize as erosion control and being utilized to create fish habitats in rivers and streams among other uses.