Governor tours fire zone, aids ranchers
'Even from the air, I could not see where the burn stopped'
BURNS, Ore. -- Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber appears to be on board with ranchers and USDA scientists in an attempt to change the way federal agencies manage grazing ground.
After an aerial view of the devastation this summer's southeast Oregon wildfires inflicted on Bureau of Land Management grazing allotments, Kitzhaber said he was "amazed at what I saw."
"Even from the air, I could not see where the burn stopped," Kitzhaber said.
Kitzhaber has provided $50,000 in the governor's strategic funding source to help cattlemen recover resources lost to the wildfires.
His commitment has been matched by the Oregon Legislature, which, in an Emergency Board provision in September, allocated $50,000 to the Oregon Department of Agriculture to help cattlemen.
Also, Kitzhaber said, the fires provide an opportunity to reconsider how federal agencies manage their ground.
"The extent and timing of these fires present an opportunity to think differently about the approaches federal land managers and others take with respect to invasive grasses, fire management, livestock grazing and habitat restoration," Kitzhaber said.
"We can do things that work better for the health of sage grouse and at the same time for the health of the communities and economy of southeast Oregon," he said in an email response to the Capital Press.