california wildfireA new fire training exchange program is changing how fire management is handled in the Klamath Mountains area. Coordinating with agencies that include the Forest Service, the U.S. Fire Learning Network, CAL FIRE and more, the Mid Klamath Watershed Council is hoping to increase the number of planned burns every fall and use more local resources in fuel reduction efforts.

Hiring locals could mean a savings of up to 90 percent. But a new fire exchange training program was necessary to get locals ready. Agencies have already worked together to create a strategy that includes a system for reducing fuel for fires. The effort started in 2011, and training started in late 2012. In 2014, the program began to catch on and expand. There is now interest in the innovative program from around the nation.

In 2014, the program impacted almost 240 acres on 19 properties and near 150 homes in locations that include Salmon River, Happy Camp and Orleans. Because last year was successful, more funding is coming in.

Now, about 100 participants are involved in the program, many of whom are local.

The overarching purpose of the program couldn’t be simpler, organizers say: to do something regarding wildfires that actually makes a difference.

The simple goal after the training is for people to think about fire in a different way than before they participated in the program.

If the weather cooperates, the next burns as part of this program will happen in the timeframe from September 30 to October 11, and the goal is to involve the community as much as possible in the effort. When everyone gets involved, fire prevention efforts take a larger and more meaningful place in the community, and that benefits everyone.

Orange Restoration sees first hand the devastating impact of fire and supports efforts to prevent it from impacting homeowners and business owners in our state and beyond.

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