Governor proposing lessening firefighting cost from timberland owners



SALEM, Ore. — Timberland owners who feel they are paying too much to battle wildfires may soon get relief.

Gov. John Kitzhaber is proposing the state picks up a bigger share of the costs for fighting wildfires when they are small. It is part of a bill in the Governor’s budget that would allocate $3.6 million to change the payment formula for firefighting. It would also keep two air tankers on call.

The governor has also earmarked $4 million to help turn out more timber from national forests east of the Cascades.

Natural Resources adviser Richard Whitman says the governor sees both proposals as vital to maintaining the struggling timber industry in Central and Eastern Oregon, both for jobs, and as a means of keeping forests healthy and reducing wildfire danger.