Need some firewood?
December 20, 2022
The McKenzie Watershed Council's Firewood Program is helping rural Lane County residents with their heating needs this winter. The program began in December of 2021, spurred in part to help those affected by the Holiday Farm Fire. It has now expanded to include more of the McKenzie River area communities, helping residents in need with firewood harvested from private properties in the burn zone.
Lara Colley, Watershed Restoration Specialist at McKenzie Watershed Council mentioned, "We heard about a fuels firewood program in Wallowa County that was reclaiming wood on private and public land - wood that would otherwise be burned or chipped - to help socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals to heat their homes during the winter. We thought a similar approach could really help out our community, and it is! We believe this is an approach that could be replicated to help families across Oregon, especially where major fires have occurred."
The Holiday Farm Fire burned over 173,000 acres causing mass destruction to the surrounding communities. Focused on the post-ecological effects of the fire and inspired by other programs in Wallowa and Jackson counties, the McKenzie Watershed Council's Firewood Program was developed as an offshoot of the Pure Water Partners forest fuels reduction work with landowners. It not only helps those that were directly affected by the fire but also helps area residents who are not able to afford heating bills and rely on heating their homes with firewood.
With a goal of distributing 300 cords of wood this year, the Firewood Program has received some grant funding from organizations like The Roundhouse Foundation, United Way Wildfire Response Fund, and International Paper and is currently seeking support in order to make the program sustainable and continue providing aid to the community. Those interested in supporting this initiative can visit the organization's website to donate and see additional ways to get involved.
The Firewood Program is a collaborative effort led by the McKenzie Watershed Council and includes partners such as EWEB, Brinks Land Improvement, McKenzie River Trust, McKenzie Community Land Trust, Upper Willamette Soil and Water Conservation District, Suulutaaq, local contractors and private landowners participating in the Pure Water Partners (PWP) Program.