Representative Greg Walden gives speech entitled “Clear Skies for Southern Oregon” at Medford/Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Forum last week

Representative Greg Walden (R-Hood River) is continuing to highlight the need to improve forest management to prevent catastrophic wildfires in Oregon. Speaking before the Medford/Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Forum in Medford last week, Walden called for “Clear Skies for Southern Oregon” in a speech that outlined the changes to federal policy Walden is pushing for to protect Oregon’s communities from increasingly devastating wildfires and air-choking smoke each summer. 

Under Walden’s leadership, Congress passed into law the most significant reforms to forest management in more than a decade last year, including a fix to so-called fire borrowing so that federal forest management accounts are not used to pay to fight wildfires. In his remarks, Walden said that while these reforms are important, there is much more work that needs to be done.

“It is time to change how federal forests are managed and how fires on federal forest lands are extinguished,” Walden said in his speech. “We cannot and should not tolerate choking smoke and devastated forests every summer. We should not have to flee Oregon to find a place to breathe. We should not be treated as ‘smoke refugees’ in our own land.”

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