The Council was created through SB 762, the product of years of hard work by the Governor’s Wildfire Council, the Legislature, and state agencies.
Today, the Wildfire Programs Advisory Council convened its first meeting, launching a process to help Oregon modernize and improve wildfire preparedness efforts across the state. Created through Senate Bill 762, the 19-member Wildfire Programs Advisory Council will focus on three key strategies: creating fire-adapted communities, developing safe and effective responses, and increasing the resiliency of Oregon’s landscapes. As part of their first meeting, the Council elected a Chair and Vice Chair and reviewed SB 762 implementation requirements.
“Wildfire is inevitable, but how we prepare for and respond to fires is in our control,” said Governor Brown. “There is absolutely no question that Oregon has one of the the best wildfire response systems in the country. But, as we responded to these fires over the last few years — from Chetco Bar to the Substation fire to the Labor Day fires of 2020 — it was clear we were battling with tools used in the last century. We simply were not equipped to fight the fires of this new age, which are faster and more fierce, and fueled by the impacts of climate change. We needed to modernize our approach, and the passing of Senate Bill 762 will help give us the tools to make those changes.”
On October 12, Governor Kate Brown announced that she had appointed Doug Grafe as Wildfire Programs Director, a position created in the Governor’s Office through SB 762. Grafe has decades of experience in wildfire management and will work closely with the Wildfire Programs Advisory Council to coordinate activities of wildfire prevention and response with the involved state agencies and other entities.
“I am confident the Wildfire Programs Advisory Council, under the leadership of Doug Grafe, will be able to help steer our state in the right direction as we work to be better prepared for fire season, and as we continue to improve in wildfire response and reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire to our communities and natural resources,” said Governor Brown.
“The Council members bring with them an in-depth knowledge of forestry practices, fire prevention, and fire response,” said Wildfire Programs Director Doug Grafe. “I look forward to working with the Council to implement Senate Bill 762 and transform our approach to meet the challenges of this new era of wildfire.”