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- Small Farms, Local Food, and Wildfires
- Small Farms, Local Food, and COVID-19
As the wildfires continue to spread across the West, we recognize that access to credible and timely information is essential. Our communities are now facing multiple crises at once. The nature of agricultural work makes it difficult for farms to stop working unless evacuation is required. During the fires themselves and post-fire during the recovery period farmworkers are exposed to smoke, ash, and chemical residue. Stress is high as farms may lose crops, their homes, and farm infrastructure that threatens the viability of their farm in the future. Faculty in the OSU Center for Small Farms and Community Food systems are working with community partners to provide current information that is relevant for small farms and local food systems. We will continue to update or add to these resources as they evolve. If you have resources or updates you would like to see listed here, please email Teagan Moran: Teagan.firstname.lastname@example.org
You can view the Wildfires Dashboard: Interactive map of fires, hotspots, & current conditions
Additionally, the State of Oregon put together a resource list which includes Fires & Hotspots Map, Air Quality Index info, experts to follow, and more: https://wildfire.oregon.gov
To sign up for alerts in you area see: Affected counties' news outlets and alert programs
The multiple wildfires have raised valid concerns about the potential impact of smoke on workers. Oregon OSHA put together this webpage with tips, information, links, and contacts on a variety of topics related to wildfires.
If you are continuing to work or have employees working, please remember to wear a mask, specifically an N-95 mask or P100 mask for protection against air pollution. Farms should provide adequate protection for all workers, such as limiting the time spent working outside and providing adequate respiratory protective equipment. While you or your farm may not be in immediate danger from ongoing fires, you and your animals may be enduring hazardous air quality. A mobile app is also now available for smart phones. You can view your current air quality index here. Or simply search for OregonAir in your app store. You can learn more about health and air quality from the Oregon Health Authority. Please see livestock resources under question: What do I need to know about wildfires and livestock safety? for specifics related to livestock.
To be prepared, individuals should have a ‘go-pack’ bag packed in case you need to evacuate at a moment’s notice. It should include:
Water and Snacks
Supplies for kids and pets
Pillows and blankets
See a full list: http://ready.gov/kit
Link below for a full evacuation checklist from the Forest Service USDA: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5305121.pdf
If farms are continuing operation they should have a Emergency Plan for Farmworkers - OSHA recommends the following for Emergency Preparedness for Farmworkers: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3870.pdf
For staying up to date on evacuation alerts see: Affected counties' news outlets and alert programs
If you must travel, keep aware of road closures from the Oregon Department of Transportation.
For immediate livestock and transportation needs follow your County’s evacuation information. In addition there are these grassroot efforts:
Facebook group that is coordinating livestock transportation and sheltering statewide. https://www.facebook.com/groups/305154019952747/
Facebook group called Cowgirl 911 that's offering help transporting animals and finding temporary homes: https://www.facebook.com/groups/oregoncowboy911
The Red Cross has a website where evacuees can let friends and family know they are safe. That saves authorities from checking houses where nobody is home.
Wildfires, Smoke and Livestock: http://cecentralsierra.ucanr.edu/files/220420.pdf
Caring for Livestock Before Disaster https://extension.colostate.edu/docs/pubs/livestk/01814.pdf
Caring for Livestock During Disaster https://extension.colostate.edu/docs/pubs/livestk/01815.pdf
Caring for Livestock After Disaster https://extension.colostate.edu/docs/pubs/livestk/01816.pdf
Wildfire Response - Veterinary Care
Oregon State University Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine is providing veterinary care to animals affected by the Oregon wildfires. Find resources, tips, assistance, and ways to help. https://vetmed.oregonstate.edu/wildfire-response
Wildfire Preparedness for Horse Owners https://extension.colostate.edu/docs/pubs/livestk/01817.pdf
Assessing and Caring for Cattle after Wildfires from Texas A&M http://veterinaryextension.colostate.edu/menu1/disaster/assessing-and-caring-for-cattle-after-wildfires.pdf
Pets and Wildfire Smoke: https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/wildfire-smoke-and-animals
Disaster Preparedness for Farm Animals https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/disaster-preparedness-farm-animals
Understanding Risk: A community guide for assessing the potential health impacts of locally-grown produce exposed to urban wildfire smoke (10-minute read) - https://ucanr.edu/sites/SCFRC/files/294307.pdf
Food Safety and Wildfires: Summary and list of additional resources https://agsci.oregonstate.edu/wrcefs/article/food-safety-and-wildfires?fbclid=IwAR3gmA53PALUHL0aECbB8teFIKzxBo7Y8MQPqZ9nO-CKXdb5qIikHy2Arqg
Best Practices for Produce Safety After a Fire (5-minute read) - https://ucanr.edu/sites/SoCo/files/315093.pdf
Webinar: Post-Fire Food Safety (roughly 1 hour long) - https://drive.google.com/file/d/1pKJaeSH09fNYWZPqFEyJxL0bsIJL-vI8/view?ts=5dc35045
USDA Food Safety Information: Fires and Food Safety (3-minute read) - https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/f4c7bfd6-4824-401b-9632-bc4df18b47a0/Fires_and_Food_Safety.pdf?MOD=AJPERES
Food Safety and Fires: http://ucanr.edu/foodsafety-fires
Food Safety and Urban Wildfires http://ucanr.edu/foodsafetyandfires
For employers trying to make a determination about attending a market, please see OSHA’s webpage regarding occupational safety and wildfire smoke.
Some farmers markets are being canceled due to poor air quality or proximity to fire threat. Farmers markets who are open may have fewer vendors as farms are impacted directly by the fires. Farms may have limited selection as they prioritize worker safety and minimize harvest.
As markets will vary depending on location, you can follow your local market on social media or email them directly. You can stay up to date on all of Oregon’s farmers market happenings by signing up for the Oregon Farmers Market Association’s newsletter and email list.
We will continue to update this page as funding opportunities develop (State, Federal, and Local)
NRCS Wildfire Emergency Fund The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service announced funding is available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for those impacted by Oregon’s recent wildfires. Application deadlines are October 30 and December 30, 2020.
You can contact your local county Extension office or County’s Emergency Response team to confirm the most up to date donation and volunteer options and needs. Oregon Emergency Management link: https://www.oregon.gov/OEM/Pages/default.aspx
If you have land available for farmers and ranchers who have been evacuated you can let your local Small Farms Extension contact know (so that we can announce on our farmer listservs), or if you have experience with livestock you can connect with Facebook pages like Cowboy 911, Cowgirl 911, Linn County Livestock and Holiday Farm (McKenzie) Fire Animal Rescue (Lane Co) that are coordinating animal evacuation and assistance.
A fundraising campaign has been started for small and micro-scale farmers, especially those who have not qualified for federal CARES act funding: https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/small-farms-affected-by-oregon-wildfires
Organizations collecting funds for immigrants and farm workers:
CASA for Oregon. https://casaoforegon.org/get-involved/
Unete Immigrant Fire Relief Fund http://uneteoregon.org/
Protecting Yourself from Ash https://www.airnow.gov/sites/default/files/2021-06/protect-yourself-from-ash-factsheet.pdf
It is important to continue to wear N95 rated masks even after the smoke lifts and air quality index improves. Working outside and cleanup work can expose you to ash and other products of the fire that may irritate your eyes, nose, or skin and cause coughing and other health effects. Ash inhaled deeply into lungs may cause asthma attacks and make it difficult to breathe. Ash is made up of larger and tiny particles (dust, dirt, and soot). Ash deposited on surfaces both indoors and outdoors can be inhaled if it becomes airborne. Ash from burned structures is generally more hazardous than forest ash, we have both in this region.
If possible, reduce outdoor physical activity during work. If you need to work outdoors, wear a mask that filters at least 95% of airborne particles (N95/KN95 masks). Cloth masks will not offer adequate protection.
A tight fit is important for protection from smoke and particulates. Facial hair can interfere with effectiveness. Even after the smoke lifts protection is required as ash and particulates will remain. Look for masks that are certified by NIOSH to filter out at least 95% of airborne particles.
Recursos de Incendios Forestales, Lista de Verificación para Empleadores y Recursos de Capacitación: https://aghealth.ucdavis.edu/es/wildfires
HOJA INFORMATIVA Hay mucho humo en el aire: ¿Sabe qué hacer? https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served//ls8622.pdf
Preguntas frecuentes sobre el humo de incendios forestales y la salud pública https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served//ls8626.pdf
Oregon Información sobre humo http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com
OSU Extension’s Fire Resource Page: https://extension.oregonstate.edu/forests/fire
Red Cross Wildfire Safety: https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/wildfire.htm