Jackson County gets firewood to 30 low-income families

ASHLAND — Just in time for some very cold weather, the Jackson County Fuel Committee was able to deliver firewood taken from forest thinning operations outside Ashland to about 30 low-income homes across the county.

The 14 or so cords delivered to those homes were donated wood taken from the Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship Project via helicopter. The project is a 10-year forest stewardship project designed to reduce wildfire risk in the Ashland watershed.

"We're really happy to see wood that is a byproduct of fuels reduction help people in the local community," Donna Mickley, U.S. Forest Service district ranger in the Siskiyou Mountains Ranger District, said in a release. "Public forest lands have provided firewood for generations, and this is a great example of local forests helping local people."

Project officials estimated about one-half cord of wood was given to each home. Fuel Committee volunteers made the deliveries over the past several weeks, with the last deliveries being taken off the lot on Dec. 14.

"This was a tremendous benefit because it was all dry and small-diameter. It meant a lot of it was ready to go," said Bill Jenett, Fuel Committee operations manager. "It was very timely because it's been freezing cold, and it went really fast."

A bulk of the deliveries went to homes where occupants are living on fixed incomes and are not able to pay for heating bills, Jenett said. With the recent cold snap, he said, deliveries came at an opportune time.

"It probably saved some lives," Jenett said.

Fuel Committee volunteers will be collecting more firewood at their collection site, 995 Siskiyou Blvd., in Ashland, this week. Anyone with wood they'd like to donate or who need more information on the project can call the committee at 541-488-2905.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at rpfeil@mailtribune.com.

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