It’s mid-July, and my time thus far as an intern with the Fire Program at OSU Extension Service has been very fun and informative. Oregon’s Coast Range is a heavily forested and culturally diverse part of the state, and as such, the communities that inhabit this region serve to benefit greatly from the expertise and outreach that Extension fire specialist Aaron Groth and the rest of the fire team provide.
On July 5, Aaron and I took a trip to beautiful Manzanita to meet with a few members of the local homeowners association, who had a lot of questions about preparing their community for the threat of fire. Their neighborhood rests upon a steeply sloped grassland with a stunning overlook of Nehalem Bay State Park, extending all the way south to Rockaway Beach and beyond. It was interesting to hear the concerns of these community members and the caution they were taking in preparation for their next HOA meeting.
Considering the increasing intensity of wildfire season and especially last year’s Echo Mountain Complex Fire, which burned parts of Lincoln City, it’s becoming more and more important to prepare for the worst. I’m beginning to see how Extension serves the communities in Oregon. People need science-based, realistic advice to inform their communities of pertinent issues affecting the state. Extension recognizes this need and applies the expertise that OSU creates.
Last week, I sat in on a meeting as Aaron presented fire information for members of the Spanish-speaking community in the Lincoln City area. As previously mentioned, the Echo Mountain Complex fire shocked Lincoln County last year. Recognizing that this community lacks the language-accessible information about both pre- and post-fire preparedness, Extension was able to make a meaningful impact thanks to Aaron’s Spanish fluency and the work that the Fire Program is here to do. It was also great Spanish listening practice for me!