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After Massive Bootleg Fire, Klamath Tribal Officials Explore Starting Fire Department

A thank you sign to firefighters from the Klamath Tribe.
A thank you sign to firefighters from the Klamath Tribe.

The Klamath Tribe in Oregon wants to create its own fire agency, following this year’s Bootleg Fire which burned much of their ancestral land. 

KLCC's Brian Bull reports on the Klamath Tribe looking into creating its own fire agency, after this year's large-scale Bootleg Fire.

The Bootleg Fire consumed over 413,000 acres; one fourth of that was Klamath reservation land.

The Bootleg Fire, in early August.
Credit Inciweb
The Bootleg Fire, in early August.

Steve Rondeau is the tribe’s Natural Resources Director.  He told KLCC that the Klamath hope to get funds soon to launch their own fire agency, which would work with other governmental agencies on wildfire management.

“From a tribal perspective, fire is a process upon the landscape and is something we have to live with all the time," said Rondeau.  "So looking back at our practices, we can see a future where our greater society can take lessons from the past, and apply them to these current conditions and we change our environment for the better and prevent some of these mega-fires from actually happening.” 

Rondeau said there’s growing receptiveness to tribal practices such as controlled burns, which have helped limit the size and growth of wildfires.

Copyright 2021 KLCC. To see more, visit KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. He is a 20-year reporter who has worked at NPR, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including three Edward R. Murrow Awards and the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award in 2012.