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P.O. Box 400 • Roseburg, OR 97470 • This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Our History

The origin of CHF can be traced to a bus trip of community leaders from Douglas County, Oregon to view the 2002 Apple Fire on the Umpqua National Forest. The trip took place on October 22, 2003 almost a year after the fire was controlled. The Forest Service had just published a draft environmental impact statement and the field trip offered the opportunity for the mainstream public to listen to the District Ranger explain the preferred alternative that was proposing to treat 1,400 acres of the 18,000 acre fire.

To better understand how the forest recovers after a hot wildfire the group continued up the North Umpqua River to visit another fire that burned 16,000 acres in 1996. Most of that fire burned in the Boulder Creek Wilderness area, but much of the 6,000 acres that burned outside the Wilderness was an intense crown fire in old growth timber and there was no post fire restoration. Upon arriving at this site our people were shocked by the terrible sight in front of them. The landscape was dominated by tens of thousands of very large dead trees, some of which had fallen to the ground that was now covered by a carpet of brush of various species. There were no young trees or conifer seedlings visible in any direction. After an intense discussion we learned from the Forest Service that because of safety concerns from the standing dead trees no tree planting could now be done. The Douglas County residents were quite upset to find out that this waste of natural resources had been allowed to occur and that by leaving Mother Nature to its own devices, another conifer forest would likely not occupy this area for many decades.

Upon returning to Roseburg the group decided to meet in early December to discuss if there was something that we could do to tell this story to the general public who, like us, has no idea about what happens after these huge fires are put out. We further determined that changes need to be made in Federal policies to enable the land management agencies to more quickly assess a damaged landscape and to expedite rehabilitation activities. A leadership team of volunteers stepped forward and began working to formulate a strategy that began with the incorporation of CHF. That strategy has evolved into the production of an educational video, the development of a Website to facilitate partnering with other communities and a brochure to explain our mission and recruit supporters.

Our goal is to build a broad based grassroots coalition through a multistate educational outreach campaign to support emergency-response regulatory language through Federal Rulemaking to deal with the aftermath of catastrophic wildfires. We hope that you will join us for the sake of healthy forests today and for future generations.