Katy Nesbitt
The La Grande Observer

ENTERPRISE — Owning property in the forest affords people quiet, natural beauty and wildlife viewing — it also increases loss to wildfire. Feb. 7 Wallowa County residents will have an opportunity to find out how a new plan aims to protect their valuable land.

The Wallowa County Community Wildfire Protection Plan, first developed in 2005, was revised over the past two years to better serve those living in neighborhoods adjacent to public land or where there is a high likelihood of wildfire. Local fire professionals will walk the public through the highlights of the new plan to improve safety and forest health.

Wallowa County’s updated plan comes on the heels of one developed for Union County in 2015 and is one of many being revised across the state. These plans identify priority areas for thinning, limbing and pruning trees near structures, roads that can be widened or improved to aid firefighting efforts and evacuations, areas where wildfires are likely to start, vegetation and fuels conditions and terrain.

Matt Howard, unit forester in Wallowa, helped develop the revised plan.

“My hope is with this revision we can encourage the public to be more proactive than reactive in response to wildland fire,” Howard said.

The plan covers fire prevention measures like cleaning up around a home, reducing fuels on the property like dead trees and limbs and removing trees close enough to a house to put it at risk of fire.

See complete story in Monday's Observer