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News Release
Committee looking at how to balance air quality and controlled burning holds final meeting in Salem on March 9 - 03/09/18

SALEM, Ore. -- A broad-based committee reviewing forestland smoke holds its final meeting March 9 in Salem. The Smoke Management Program Review Committee has been meeting since mid-2017. Its mission is to recommend improvements for how the state can use controlled burns to improve forest health and protect nearby residents from wildfire while minimizing smoke impacts on communities to protect public health.

The public is invited to attend. The meeting is in the Tillamook Room in Building C on the campus of the Oregon Department of Forestry, 2600 State Street in Salem. It will last from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with an opportunity for public comment. The meeting space is accessible to persons with disabilities.

The 20-person committee was appointed by the Oregon Department of Forestry working with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. The committee is made up of forest landowners, public health representatives, the American Lung Association, forest collaboratives and environmentalist groups, county and city elected officials, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and a tribal representative.

The committee is seeking to produce a set of recommendations for the departments of Forestry and Environmental Quality to consider. The committee's work will be presented to the Board of Forestry and the Environmental Quality Commission later this year. Committee recommendations will also inform potential updates to the state's Smoke Management Plan. That plan is administered by ODF and approved by the Board of Forestry and the Environmental Quality Commission. The Smoke Management Plan is part of the state's plan for implementing the federal Clean Air Act.

According to ODF records, in 2016 controlled fires were set on 181,800 forested acres in Oregon, above the 10-year annual average of 165,999 acres. Those fires burned an estimated 1.3 million tons of woody debris. Peak burning is in the spring and fall.
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