Majority of surveyed family forest owners in eastern Oregon treat land to reduce wildfire risk
As wildfires consume increasing areas of Western U.S. forests each year, private landowners are being encouraged to reduce wildfire risk on their property. Station scientists wanted to know how nonindustrial private forest owners in eastern Oregon perceive and address wildfire risk. They discovered that 75 percent of surveyed owners of ponderosa pine forests had treated some portion of their land between 2003 and 2008. Primary residents were almost eight times more likely to reduce fire risk on their property than absentee owners. Also, owners living near public lands were more likely to manage their land, providing the added benefit of buffering fire risk between public and private land. Lack of knowledge or skills did not emerge as a significant barrier to fire risk management, implying that educational strategies may not be the best investment of public funds. Instead, owners indicated that they lacked sufficient resources to offset the costs of hazardous fuel reduction, and that they would benefit from cost share funds and markets for logs and wood products generated through thinning.