MEDFORD - Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., will be joined by President George W. Bush in Southern Oregon on Thursday, Aug. 22. The president will fly into Medford for a briefing on Oregon wildfires from state and federal officials. The briefing will be followed by a tour of the Squires Fire site.

Later in the day, Smith and Bush will travel to the Compton Arena where the president will give a major speech on conservation and forest health.

The schedule is for President Bush to arrive on Air Force One at the Rogue Valley International Airport in Medford, followed by the briefing and tour of the Squires Fire and President Bush's speech on Conservation and Forest Health at approximately 12:45 p.m. at Compton Arena in Central Point

A year ago, President Bush spoke to the issue of forest management during a tour of the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. On Aug. 14, 2001, he said, "Again, I want to emphasize the fact that through good forest management we can do a better job of containing fire. And I know there are some in our country that want to just let the forests fall apart. We're not going to let that happen in this administration. We're going to maintain them, and we're going to make sure that if there is a fire, it does as little damage as possible.

"You're going to see a part of the strategy right here. Gale (Norton, Interior Secretary) was with the Western governors this past week, and we've come up with a very good strategy. It reinforces our commitment to working with the states and the local jurisdictions to make sure we've got sound, smart environmental policy. Not all the wisdom in the world is in Washington, D.C. Some in Washington think that, but not this administration.

"We trust the local folks and our federal government is going to pledge to stand side by side with local folks. This is a collaborative effort here we're going to see between the private sector and the public park system to maintain these forests in a good, sensible way."

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