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McMorris Rodgers and legislators hear local views of forest fire situation


August 19, 2021

-EW Photo by Naomi Scoggin

Congressionwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, left, State Representative Joe Schmick, back left, USFS Umatilla National Forest Supervisor Eric Watrud, back center, GCFD Fire Chief James Cleveland, USFS District Ranger Susan Piper, back right, Garfield County Commissioner Larry Ledgerwood, right, and State Representative Mary Dye right front, inquire about communication status local agency heads during the Lick Creek and Green Ridge fires at a recent visit to Pioneer Park here on August 10.

POMEROY–Congressional Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, WA-5, and State Representatives Joe Schmick, R-9, Colfax, and Mary Dye, R-9, Pomeroy, discussed the current forest fire situation with local agency heads at the Pioneer Park on August 10.

The representatives came to Pomeroy to hear from the local citizens on how the Lick Creek and Green Ridge fires have been handled. Several people including Garfield County Commissioner Jim Nelson and a Anatone, Wash., farmer Jay Holzmiller, stated the level of communication between agencies, local officials, and local citizens has been clear and open, a refreshing change from communications in previous years. Holzmiller mentioned the current appeal to local knowledge of the land and contrasted it to his past experiences of agencies ignoring the locals.

Concern was expressed about the management policies that have undermined the health of the forest and allowed fuels such as dead timber and brush to build. Rep. Rodgers agreed and hopes that the vision of leaving a successful legacy for the future will bring change to the policies. "Hands-off is not good stewardship," she said. "When you look at the conditions of our forests, we need to be doing better."

United States Forest Service District Ranger Susan Piper announced that there have been very few injuries this fire season and she is hopeful that pattern will continue.


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