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Sandy Shaffer has been part of the Applegater team almost since the beginning—not only as a regular contributor of fire-related articles but also as an editorial committee member. She is stepping down to focus on some well-deserved downtime.

Sandy co‐led the development of the Applegate Fire Plan—the nation’s first Community Wildfire Protection Plan, covering all lands in the 500,000-acre Applegate Watershed. The fire plan addresses fire suppression and protection, fuels reduction, and emergency communications. Sandy and other volunteers on the fire plan team convened 40 public meetings in ten months. Ultimately, the development of the plan involved 28 different partners, ranging from government agencies to community groups. The team was awarded a National Fire Plan grant in October 2001, and the plan was printed ten months later—an impressive accomplishment. Some results of the fire plan: Over 18,000 federal acres were treated, 600-plus homes have defensible space, and 50 neighborhood telephone trees were set up for emergency communications.

[Sandy Shaffer photo caption from Applegater] In 2011, Max Bennett presented Sandy Shaffer with the Community Service Award in honor of her “outstanding contributions to community wildfire planning and protection in southern Oregon and beyond.” Photo: Applegater archives.

Sandy was also active in the development of the Jackson County Fire Plan, including the Jackson-Josephine local coordinating group, the outreach and education committee, and fuels committees. Another effort was her leadership of a survey of Wildland Urban Interface residents in portions of Jackson County that produced some valuable insights into resident attitudes and activities around wildlife.

Sandy served on the Western Governor’s forest health advisory committee and several subcommittees in the early 2000s, helped with the National Fire Plan’s ten-year implementation plan, and worked with a team to devise a cohesive national wildfire strategy.

In addition to all the above, Sandy served as president of the Applegate Valley Fire District board of directors.

We will miss Sandy’s incisive and educational articles as well as her high standards, which contributed to the quality of the Applegater. We wish Sandy safe travels and offer some heartfelt words from fellow editorial committee members.

“I always appreciated Sandy’s keen eye for assessing articles, and I grew to respect very much her opinions about what should and should not be accepted in the Applegater and her candid approach. Hers was a long-time voice on the editorial committee. I will miss it sorely. Actually, I will miss the friendship aspect of serving on the committee with her, as well.”

—Diana Coogle, Applegater chair, editorial committee member

“It’s hard to say which is deeper: Sandy’s experience in the Applegate Valley (especially regarding firefighting) or how deeply she cares for the valley. What is easy to say is that both—combined with her readiness to share her recommendations—made her an invaluable member of the team furthering the Applegater’s mission. Her contributions made it a better paper. Thank you, Sandy!”

—Bert Etling, former Applegater editor in chief, now executive editor of the

“Sandy is a demon typo-spotter! More than that, though, she had strong and valued opinions about every article submitted to the Applegater over the decades she spent on the editorial committee. That’s devotion above and beyond. I will miss her candor, thoroughness, and thoughtfulness. I wish Sandy, her husband, and Maggie the best. But I also hope Sandy will continue to inform us with an occasional article about fire.”

—Barbara Holiday, Applegater editor in chief; chair, editorial committee

“I believe Sandy has done more than most people realize in working on fire issues between federal and state agencies and the public. Her work on the fire plan for the Applegate watershed was indispensable, and her fire articles for the Applegater were some of the most educational pieces we ran. Sandy’s dedication will be hard to replace.”

—J.D. Rogers, former Applegater editor in chief

Message from Sandy: Earth, air, trees: I guess it’s just kismet

After nearly 23 years of writing articles for and sitting on the editorial committee of the Applegater, I’m finally pulling back to have a bit more time to spend with Don, my husband of 48 years, and our Akita dog, Maggie. As well, we are planning some more traveling soon.

Don and I met almost 50 years ago when we both were working part-time at a take-out pizza store in southern California. When the phones were slow for orders, we talked a lot about what we wanted for our futures. Neither of us wanted to have children. We “clicked” all the way, and were married in 1975, shortly after he finished college. Soon after, Don was offered a position in the San Francisco area, and we jumped at the opportunity. We purchased a house in California’s East Bay.

Over the years we did a lot of traveling, mainly up and down the western coast. We both loved the state of Oregon (Don was born in Oregon!) and started looking where we might like to settle down in the future. We particularly liked the Applegate Valley and the large, forested properties for sale. After visiting the town of Jacksonville, we decided to find our forever home in this area. In 1992 we purchased a 20-acre forested property in the Applegate and designed and built our home here. And we’ve never looked back.

So now we’re in our seventies and still on our 20 acres. Both Don and I are healthy; those walks with Maggie up and down the hills keep us in good shape! We want to travel more (one trip is already planned) and see more of the Northwest.

I do thank all of you Applegater friends for putting up with my sometimes strange articles! I blame my mother, who also liked to write.

Sandy Shaffer • [email protected]