Wild Fire and Air Quality

Oregon's wild fires in September 2020 had an unprecedented impact on many Oregonians, especially those people of color and lower income people who have lived on the disastrous edge of displacement as a result.

We are taking action on wildfire as part of our vibrant climate justice and air quality programs. As a member of statewide coalitions, we are engaged with the state legislative process in Oregon to secure sensible wildfire prevention policies that can help end the cycles of fighting fires and cleaning up burned down rural communities. We also are embedding in communities that have experienced destructive fires to help assess the toxicity of air, soil and water after a fire as people return to restart their lives.

WHAT WE ARE DOING

Risk Assessment for to Address Hazardous Air Pollutants and Health Impacts Resulting from the Almeda Fire
We are working with our partners to mitigate the negative health impacts of air and water pollution resulting from a catastrophic wildfire that destroyed the towns of Phoenix and Talent in September 2020. Approximately 3,000 families were made homeless from the fire, which destroyed both downtowns and burned apartment buildings, single family homes, many businesses and scores of mobile home parks. Phoenix and Talent are small towns and many community members are farm and forestry workers who work outside and are exposed to toxic residues from the fire. Our project will provide an environmental health risk assessment of current hazards and culturally responsive education to develop “people science” skills for immigrants and BIPOC residents. 

Getting Communities Ready for Fire on the Land
Doing better at preventing forest wildfires and planning for resilient forest and community responses means Oregonians must tackle outdated timber practices, timber tax structures, lack of fire preparedness programs and education, and climate as the primary driver of wildfires. Beyond Toxics is blending our Resilient Forests Campaign with our air quality and environmental justice programs to support small woodland owners and vulnerable communities, implement climate-smart forestry policies, prevent smoke inhalation and air quality disasters and fund science-driven adaptive management at state and local governments. In 2021, we lead the coalition to bring equity and climate principles into Oregon’s land use system through HB 2488, a key strategy to build fire resilient landscapes. We are core team members of the coalition working to pass HB 2357, a bill to end the state’s promotion of industrial timber clear-cuts in the media and school curriculum to convince the public that clearcuts and helicopter herbicide sprays are good for Oregon.

VIDEOS

 

Almeda Fire and Climate Justice - Support HB 2488!

Oregon's communities are already struggling due to historic inequities and other economic, social, and environmental challenges. Their needs must be centered in the process of addressing climate impacts through Oregon system of land use laws.  


 

Clearcut Danger: After the Fires Burn

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All things share the same breath – the beast, the tree, the man. The air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.
— Chief Seattle