Drier Conditions, More Wildfire, and Heightened Concerns About Forest Management in Eastern Oregon
In eastern Oregon, a semi-arid region dominated by dry forest, warming over the past few decades is affecting the productivity and health of forests that are central to the region’s landscapes, economy, and culture. A warmer and drier climate will likely bring more frequent and severe wildfires and increase stress on water availability. The impacts will be significant both for natural resources and human welfare, especially in the Blue Mountains and adjacent communities. Public opinion surveys in this region show that recognition of human-caused climate change is low, but there is a high level of agreement that forest conditions are worsening and that wildfires pose a major risk. Support is high for active forest management (forest thinning, surface fuel reduction) and restoration to reduce the likelihood of dangerous, high-severity wildfires.