March 29 Digest: This Week in Wildfire Recovery News

This is a digest of selected news and media that emerged over the last week related to wildfire emergencies, recovery efforts, and resilience building efforts in the American West. 

Officials seek public input on how to spend wildfire recovery funds

From KEZI9 ABC News, by Chelsea Hunt | March 25, 2022

Oregon officials need public input for how to allocate wildfire relief funds and develop and action plan in order to qualify for for a federal HUD grant.  Oregon residents are encouraged to participate in a survey in regard to this plan.

Community Meetings Aim to Help Rebuilding County Residents

From The Press Banner, by Christina Wise | March 25, 2022

Updates on how the Santa Cruz Long Term Recovery Group offers meetings to help fire survivors navigate recovery from the CZU Fire, and increase collaboration between nonprofits and other local stakeholders

Boulder County contractor holding virtual meeting Tuesday to discuss debris removal

From Denver ABC 7, by Blair Miller | March 25, 2022

An informational webinar slated for Tuesday, March 29 with the county's debris removal contractor DRC Emergency Services will will provide a presentation that will cover schedule, advance preparatory work, property owner notification, costs, what is and isn’t included.

Camp Fire survivors concerned they are being scammed by contractors

From Action News Now, by Tori Apodaca | March 24, 2022

Camp Fire survivors are seeking help from the district attorney due to concerns about their partially built homes that have stalled, alleging that they have signed with a contractor who may have scammed them.

Wildfire trends outpace mitigation measures

From Independent Record, by Tom Kuglin | March 27, 2022

Philip Higuera, professor of fire ecology at University of Montana addressed the state legislature's Environmental Quality Council to share the dangers of the current climate trends of hot, dry and windy conditions and how that increases the frequency of wildfire, and emphasized the need for leaders to prioritize mitigation measures where human safety is a primary concern.

Prescribed fire science: Why it’s needed now more than ever

From USDA Southern Research Station, by Stephanie Siegel | March 24, 2022

Shed light on the need for more science-based prescribed fire predictions and models. Fire researchers and managers can use these tools to test scenarios, teach new prescribed fire managers, and identify possible improvements in fire prescriptions and plans.

Proposed modular home project could address multiple housing woes in Southern Oregon

From Oregon Public Broadcasting, by Juliet Grable | March 27, 2022

A new modular-construction project, bolstered by public wildfire recovery funds, seeks to provide affordable apartment home complexes in the Almeda fire zone. These complexes will help bring jobs to Oregon and get much needed housing built in a streamlined fashion for Rogue Valley residents.

White City wood-fire power plant to repurpose wood, trees burned in past wildfires

From KTVL, by Ambar Rodriguez | March 26, 2022

A local power plant in Oregon is using wood debris from the 2020 wildfires to generate energy for 20,000 homes in the community and produce biochar, a material that contains carbon and helps supplement soil.

These Bay Area trees existed nowhere else on the planet. Did they survive a devastating wildfire?

From Mercury News, by Lisa Krieger | March 27, 2022

CZU Fire burned the world's only known grove of Butano Cypres. Genetically unique, the grove grew on Butano Ridge, a 1,000-foot spine of ancient marine rocks in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Researchers have discovered that all of the old grove burned, but new seedlings have emerged. They will protect these fledgling trees and hope drought or another fire do not claim them.

California wildfire smoke may rise to ‘practically unbearable’ levels in next decades

From SF Chronicle, by Kurtis Alexander | March 28, 2022

A new study out of Princeton University and the NOAA modeling particulate pollution predicts severe conditions for dirty air will result from climate change and the increase in frequency of wildfires, especially impacting Northern CA and the Pacific NW region. These increases can cause serious health problems and will reverse decades of progress in for improving air quality.

Lessons from Marshall Fire help crews respond to NCAR Fire quickly

From Fox 31, by Rachel Skyta | March 27, 2022

Mike Smith served as Incident Commander for the Marshall Fire and now for the NCAR Fire. He says key differences between the fires make it difficult to compare the two.

Colorado Wildfire Scorches Nearly 190 Acres and Prompts Evacuations

From New York Times, by Vimal Patel and Eduardo Medina | March 27, 2022

Just three months after the Marshall Fire, a wind-driven wildfire in the wildland-urban interface grasslands of unincorporated Boulder County, CO near the National Center for Atmospheric Research prompted thousands of evacuations over the weekend.

Phoenix-Talent schools to regain money lost from fire

From Mail Tribune, by Kevin Opsahl | March 25, 2022

Gov. Kate Brown signed House Bill 4026 Wednesday, clearing the way for school districts in Oregon that are still recovering from the impacts of 2020's wildfires (Phoenix-Talent, McKenzie, Lincoln County and Santiam Canyon school districts) to tap into $25 million worth of grant funding from the Oregon Department of Education.