After what most present deemed an unsatisfactory meeting as Regional Forester Kent Connaughton followed up with his report on the aftermath of the Barry Point Fire, the Lake County Commissioners devoted a section of their work session on Tuesday, Feb. 5 to discuss how they wanted to respond. After the fire burned out more than 93,000 acres last August, Rep. Greg Walden enlisted the help of Cannaughton to instigate an evaluation of the firefighting efforts and address landowners concerns.
“I came away thinking that our constituents would want us to talk about it,” said Commissioner Brad Winters. They all agreed and came to a larger conclusion that it was their responsibility to seek a greater answer to the fire’s aftermath as well as the larger problem of forest maintenance. Having accomplished all of the local services they felt they could provide, the consensus of the board was to look higher up the ladder.
“We are trying to ask our member of Congress to step up,” said Commissioner Dan Shoun. Throughout the week after the Forester’s meeting on Monday, Jan. 28, they held a meeting with representatives from both Sen. Ron Wyden and Sen. Jeff Merkley’s staff, hoping to illicit some extended support for the American west on the whole. “It’s not just in Lake County that these situations occur,” Shoun said.
As Wyden is newly elected as the Chairmen of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the board believed that he would be agreeable to hearing about the matter.
Primarily, their discussion dealt with the Forest Service’s handling on their reviewing the fire’s effect for the citizens of Lake County.
“I was told there would be an unbiased third party review and we haven’t been satisfied with that,” Winters said. “We need to ask for the fact-finding to come forward.”