We’re not the experts — we just facilitate them.

— Susan Wilson

Susan Wilson and Virginia Silvey are concerned about the ever-present threat wildfire poses to the future of Sisters.

Watching the horrific events of the Camp Fire unfold in Paradise, California, last summer spurred them to action. The Sisters women are in the process of forming a non-profit called Green Forests Matter – and they’re hosting a series of presentations on wildfire mitigation at Sisters Library through April.

“We think that what happened in California could happen here,” Wilson told The Nugget. “And there are some obvious opportunities to change that.”

The women hope to effect change through education, and they’re bringing subject matter experts to Sisters to talk about smoke reduction zones; the potential for biomass to jumpstart forest health projects; and the Greater Sisters Community Wildfire Protection Plan.

The lecture series kicks off on Tuesday, April 9, at 6 p.m. with “Establishing Smoke Reduction Zones,” featuring Peter Brewer, Air Quality Attainment Coordinator, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

“We’re not the experts — we just facilitate them,” Wilson explained.

In its mission statement, Green Forests Matter urges “that wildfires be put out immediately, before they become catastrophic” and encourages “the management of forests by reducing excess fuel, encouraging new technologies, such as biomass, in order to better utilize excessive forest materials, while reducing controlled burning, producing opportunities for new energy strategies that in turn could benefit an entire community.”

The April 16 lecture features Norm Ward, Wind River Biomass Utilities; and Elona Trogub, Wind River Organics Operations Manager on “Biomass Forest Technologies and Business Opportunities.”

On April 30, Sisters Community Development Director Patrick Davenport will explore the Greater Sisters Community Wildfire Protection Plan.

“In order to reduce catastrophic wildfire and smoke, we need to be attentive to these causes and calculated in our responses,” Wilson says. “That means first having a comprehensive and cohesive wildfire management strategy as well as a sustainable forest management program that is implemented at the local level by a host of stakeholders. We all need to be involved!”