ROSEBURG, Ore., April 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Communities for Healthy Forests, Inc. (CHF), with support from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative®, Inc. (SFI®), held a ceremony celebrating the restoration of the Douglas Complex fire devastation area.
The Douglas Complex wildfires gripped the State of Oregon in August of 2013, threatening homes, and forcing evacuations and road closures. Approximately 3,000 firefighters were called-in to battle the fires, including the National Guard, but were hampered by the extremely rugged terrain. While firefighters successfully defended homes, lingering smoke following the wildfire posed a health risk, and precipitated the distribution of 20,000 respiration masks by the Red Cross to the residents of southern Oregon. By August 6th, 2013, the Douglas Complex fire and neighboring fires had burned 144,688 acres in Oregon.
"Through the help of an SFI Conservation and Community Partnership Grant, today's tree planting will include local community leaders, students, area landowners, and the general public, all of whom were directly affected by the wildfire," said Kathy Abusow, CEO of SFI Inc. "The project is intended to rebuild the destroyed ecosystem by replanting native trees and monitoring forest recovery over the span of three years."
"The Douglas Complex fire left profound destruction in its wake, and we will need to be proactive to restore the landscape and help avoid future catastrophic fires," said CHF Chairman, Lee Paterson one of the founders of CHF. His enthusiasm was echoed by Javier Goirigolzarri, a Certified Forester who works with CHF, "We are thrilled to work with local families and leaders to begin forest restoration, and we're especially excited about the support from SFI."
As part of the restoration effort, 50 fifth graders from Fir Grove Elementary and SFI program participants, Plum Creek and Swanson Group, today joined CHF, the Bureau of Land Management, Roseburg Forest Products, Douglas County, the Society of American Foresters and others for a tree planting ceremony.
Since 2010, SFI has awarded more than 50 conservation partnership grants totaling more than $1.9 million to support projects that promote sustainable forestry practices and engage communities. When leveraged with project partner contributions, that total investment exceeds $7.1 million.
For more information, please visit www.communitiesforhealthyforests.org/home.
About Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI)
SFI Inc. is an independent, nonprofit organization that is solely responsible for maintaining, overseeing and improving the internationally recognized Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) program. Across the United States and Canada, about 250 million acres certified to the SFI forest management standard. In addition, the SFI program's unique fiber sourcing requirements promote responsible forest management on all suppliers' lands. SFI chain-of-custody (COC) certification tracks the percentage of fiber from certified forests, certified sourcing and post-consumer recycled content. SFI on-product labels identify both certified sourcing and COC claims to help consumers make responsible purchasing decisions. SFI Inc. is governed by a three-chamber board of directors representing environmental, social and economic sectors equally. Learn more at www.sfiprogram.org and www.sfiprogram.org/Buy-SFI.
About Communities for Healthy Forests, Inc.
Communities for Healthy Forests was founded to inform the public, natural resource managers and policy makers about catastrophic stand clearing events in public forests caused by fire and other disasters. Communities for Healthy Forests exists to illustrate and explain the benefits of applying the best scientifically supported prescriptions for restoring health to overgrown forests and to rehabilitate severely damaged forests promptly following such events.
SOURCE Communities for Healthy Forests, Inc.