Post-Wildfire Restoration in Southeast Oregon - Miller Homestead Fire

Background information.—On July 8, 2012, lightning ignited a fire on Bureau of Land Management-managed land on the Miller Homestead in Harney County, Oregon. High winds combined with unusually hot and dry conditions spread the fire through dry grass and sagebrush and 160,801 acres were burned before the fire was contained on July 24, 2012. In the aftermath, it was determined that ecological restoration was necessary since the majority of the fire occurred within prime habitat for sage-grouse, and the fire had burned with such severity that it removed vegetation down to bare soil. Without rehabilitation efforts, desirable vegetation would be unlikely to reestablish and the site would be open to invasion by noxious weeds. Major components ... Show More

Background information.—On July 8, 2012, lightning ignited a fire on Bureau of Land Management-managed land on the Miller Homestead in Harney County, Oregon. High winds combined with unusually hot and dry conditions spread the fire through dry grass and sagebrush and 160,801 acres were burned before the fire was contained on July 24, 2012. In the aftermath, it was determined that ecological restoration was necessary since the majority of the fire occurred within prime habitat for sage-grouse, and the fire had burned with such severity that it removed vegetation down to bare soil. Without rehabilitation efforts, desirable vegetation would be unlikely to reestablish and the site would be open to invasion by noxious weeds. Major components of the Miller Homestead Fire Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation Project included the replacement of permanent and temporary fencing and wildlife guzzlers; aerial seeding; drill seeding; collecting and growing sagebrush seed for future plantings; removal of downed juniper near the community of Frenchglen, Oregon; and inventory and monitoring of noxious weeds. The goal of this project is to restore the ecological condition and function of the landscape, which, if achieved, will result in improved wildlife habitat, increased forage availability that will allow for continued livestock grazing, restored habitat for wild horses, a reduced risk of erosion, enhanced recreation opportunities, and better community protection from the risk of future wildfires.

The U.S. Geological Survey collected data on restoration activities and expenditures to estimate the economic activity supported by this project. Background information on the Miller Homestead project was obtained from Autumn Toelle, BLM, written commun., 2015; and Blackwood, 2013.
 
Economic impacts.—The Miller Homestead Fire Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation Project began in 2013 and continued into 2014, and had a total cost of $2,512,000 during this period (2014 dollars). Approximately 40 percent of project funds was spent locally, which supported an estimated total of 19.2 job-years; $709,000 in labor income; $768,000 value added; and $1,681,000 in economic output within the local economy near the fire’s recovery effort. Expanding to include the effects of both local and nonlocal expenditures, the Miller Homestead Fire Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation Project supported an estimated 37.6 job-years; $2,014,000 in labor income; $2,968,000 in value added; and $6,645,000 in economic output in the Western States economy. The Miller Homestead Fire Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation Project will continue after 2014. Show Less

Contact(s): Catherine M Cullinane Thomas, Christopher C Huber.

Overview

Project Period: 2013-2014

Location: Oregon

Restoration Type: Post-fire restoration

Lead Agency: Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

Economic Impacts
Western States Economic Impacts (2014 dollars):

Total Project Expenditures: $2,512,000


Job-Years: 37.6 (15.0 per $1M)

Labor Income: $2,014,000 ($802K per $1M)

Value Added: $2,968,000 ($1.2M per $1M)

Economic Output: $6,645,000 ($2.6M per $1M)

Local Economic Impacts (2014 dollars):

Local Project Expenditures: $1,002,000

Percent of Project Expenditures Spent Locally: 40%

Local Job-Years: 19.2

Local Labor Income: $709,000

Local Value Added: $768,000

Local Economic Output: $1,681,000

Big Picture
Main Project: Post-Wildfire Restoration in Southeast Oregon

The 2012 fire season was very active in the western United States. Fires began early in the spring in the southwest, and moved into both the intermountain and Great Basin regions by early summer. Southeast Oregon was no exception; the typical fire season in this region begins in late July, but in 2012, it began in early April with several fires burning more than 1,000 acres. Leading up to the 2012 fire season, southeast Oregon had an unusually low snowpack followed by less than normal spring rains, which resulted in very low moisture content in soil and live biomass. Dry sagebrush mixed in with stands of juniper and relatively continuous beds of dry grass dominated the landscape. These dry conditions intensified the Miller Homestead ... Show More

The 2012 fire season was very active in the western United States. Fires began early in the spring in the southwest, and moved into both the intermountain and Great Basin regions by early summer. Southeast Oregon was no exception; the typical fire season in this region begins in late July, but in 2012, it began in early April with several fires burning more than 1,000 acres. Leading up to the 2012 fire season, southeast Oregon had an unusually low snowpack followed by less than normal spring rains, which resulted in very low moisture content in soil and live biomass. Dry sagebrush mixed in with stands of juniper and relatively continuous beds of dry grass dominated the landscape. These dry conditions intensified the Miller Homestead fire (160,801 acres) and the Long Draw fire (558,198 acres), both of which ignited from afternoon lightning strikes during a storm on July 8, 2012. The Miller Homestead fire burned within the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) Burns District, while the Long Draw fire burned primarily within the BLM’s Vale District. Although the majority of land burned in these two fires came under the jurisdiction of the BLM, both fires also burned private land and lands managed by other government agencies. Both fires burned for eight to nine days before reaching their greatest extents. These two fires burned a variety of landscapes and negatively affected many resources and uses, including forage for livestock grazing, habitat for sage-grouse and other sensitive species, wild horse herd management areas, Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, and wilderness study areas.

Background information on the 2012 Southeast Oregon fires was obtained from Autumn Toelle, BLM, written commun., 2015; and Blackwood, 2013.  Show Less

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