UDRC neighborhoods are thick with lodgepole and ponderosa pine and a heavy undergrowth of bitterbrush and Manzanita. These overgrown conditions allow for high intensity, catastrophic fires that can destroy neighborhoods, wildlife habitat, river banks and the forest itself. Our goal is to reduce the risk and preserve the health of our forest by reducing hazardous vegetation to promote a more fire-resistant forest and protect neighborhoods and wildlife.
Forests – ensure healthy, fire-resilient forests
The Upper Deschutes River Communities Wildfire Protection Plan identifies surrounding lands, including federal and state lands, at risk from catastrophic wildland fire. It identifies strategies for reducing hazardous wildland fire fuels while improving forest health, and improving fire protection capabilities. It also identifies actions that individuals can take to help protect themselves and their neighborhoods against the threat of wildland fires.
The purpose of the Upper Deschutes River Communities Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) is to:
- Protect lives and property from wildland fires;
- Maintain a watershed with healthy fire resistant forests providing quality fish and wildlife habitat;
- Instill a sense of responsibility among residents, visitors, conservation groups and federal, state and local agencies to take preventive actions regarding wildland fire;
- Provide guidance to federal agencies for implementing fuels reduction treatments;
- Prioritize the use of limited funds for the removal of ladder fuels in neighborhoods and surrounding lands;
- Increase public understanding of living in a fire-adapted ecosystem;
- Increase the ability of UDRC communities to prepare for, respond to and recover from wildland fires;
- Restore fire-adapted ecosystems with diverse, multi-structured forests emphasizing large ponderosa pine trees;
- Improve the fire resilience of the landscape while protecting other social, economic and ecological values;
- Promote biomass utilization and alternative energy;
- Improve carbon dioxide emission levels and carbon sequestration.
This document outlines the priorities, strategies and action plans for fuels reduction treatments in the Upper Deschutes River Communities planning area. This CWPP also addresses special areas of concern and makes recommendations for reducing structural vulnerability and creating defensible spaces in seven sub regions within the planning area. It is intended to be a living vehicle for fuels reduction, education, and other projects to decrease overall risks of loss from wildland fire; updated and revisited as necessary to address its purpose.
Wildland fire is a natural and necessary component of forest ecosystems across the country. Central Oregon is no exception. Historically, wildland fires have shaped the forests valued by residents and visitors. Forests and other wildlands are now significantly altered due to fire prevention efforts, modern suppression activities and a general lack of large scale fires, resulting in overgrown forests with closed canopies and decaying fuels that burn more intensely than in the past.
In addition, the recent explosion in population has led to increased residential development into forests in the wildland urban interface (WUI). To address these issues, members of fire agencies, local businesses and organizations, and individuals collaborated to develop the Upper Deschutes River Communities CWPP.
Although reducing the risk of catastrophic wildland fire is the primary motivation behind this plan, managing the forests and wildlands for hazardous fuels reduction and fire resilience is only one part of the larger picture. Residents and visitors desire healthy, fire-resilient forests and wildlands that provide habitat for wildlife, recreational opportunities, and scenic beauty.
Rivers – promote clean & abundant river flows
Four rivers– the Big and Little Deschutes, Fall and Spring Rivers flow majestically through UDRC neighborhoods and provide important habitat for a variety of wildlife such as Brown and Rainbow trout, otters and osprey. They offer abundant recreational opportunities for residents and visitors. Our goal is to keep our rivers clean and healthy to sustain this resource for shih and wildlife, and recreation.
Wildlife Habitat – enhance beneficial wildlife habitat
Healthy, fire-resistant forests and clean river flows come together to provide beneficial habitat for our community friends including elk, white tail deer, bald eagles, otters and osprey. Our goal is to bring together the diverse efforts of our neighborhood members to provide for the balanced approach to sustaining these habitats.
- Developed and manages the Community Wildfire Protection Plan.
- Obtains funds and manages the hazardous fuels reduction projects
- Assists in creating Firewise Communities
- Supports the annual noxious weed removal program
- Develops and maintains partnerships with the US Forest Service, BLM and the Oregon Department of Forestry.
- Provides educational programs for the neighborhoods.
- Supports neighborhood capacity building
- Creates partnerships with the National Forest Foundation, Project Wildfire and Deschutes County
- Developed programs like the Ponderosa seedling project.