Andy VanderPlaat, Wildfire Committee Chair
2020 was a disastrous year of large and dangerous wildfires that swept through rangelands but also large acres of timbered grazing lands in all areas of Oregon. The losses of grazing ground and timber were devastating but also many structures and homes were destroyed. We deeply thank the many dedicated folks that risk their lives fighting these fires and protecting people, livestock and property.
OCA in years past has been a gathering place for receiving and disbursing donations for Wildfire Assistance to affected cattle producers. In 2019 over $15,000 was distributed for losses to affected producers. In 2020, OCA received over $35,000 in donations to assist cattle producers and other entities covering losses and expenses caused by Wildfires.
The funding eligibility has been expanded this year to include Rangeland Fire Protection Associations and Rural Fire Departments to cover expenses they incurred fighting fires and protecting resources. Cattle producers will remain eligible for funds to reimburse losses incurred from Wildfires.
Several large donors stepped up in 2020 to increase the fund, these included Northwest Farm Credit Services, CoBank and OCA. We thank them for their generosity in helping out producers and others. These funds will be distributed based on applications received by the OCA Wildfire Assistance Committee.
The committee will determine the amount of reimbursement based on information provided by the applicant for losses and expenses occurring from 2020 wildfire costs and firefighting. The applications are due by February 15, 2021 to the OCA office. The applications can be found on the OCA website or by calling the OCA office and one will be mailed out. Please encourage your local RFPA, Rural Fire District or any cattle producers that were damaged or incurred costs fighting these horrific wildfires in 2020.
Marvin Vetter, Oregon Department of Forestry, works closely with the RFPA’s and Rural Fire Districts and we appreciate his help in providing information and contacts for this fire season.
If you have any questions or need more information, please contact the OCA office, your District VP or me at 541-969-9162, email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Andy VanderPlaat, Chairman and District 3 Vice President.