Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 9/15 – Chiloquin area Evacuation Orders Lifted for Road 422 North at Two Four Two Fire Area Today

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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Klamath Basin Weather

Today   Areas of smoke. Mostly sunny, with a high near 82.

Wednesday   Patchy smoke. Mostly sunny, with a high near 83.

Thursday   A 20 percent chance of showers after 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 79.

Friday   A chance of showers, mainly after 11am. Partly sunny, with a high near 68.

Saturday   A slight chance of showers. Sunny, with a high near 72.

Today’s Headlines

Two Four Two fire holding at about 14,500 acres on Monday say fire officials. Many homes and structures remain in danger today.

Firefighters slowed the growth of the Two Four Two Fire near Chiloquin and fire lines held again on Monday. Currently the Two Four Two Fire is 15% contained and about 14,536 acres in size.

According to fire managers, eight homes and 35 other structures were leveled by the fire. About 70 structures have been damaged in the blaze, some of those considerably. More than 1,200 structures remain in danger. As of Monday, there were no known injuries or fatalities.

Chiloquin Fire Chief Mike Cook said, “We are lifting all evacuation orders effective tomorrow at 9 a.m. September, 15. Access to Road 422 North will be at noon. Highway 62 and Road 422 remain closed to the public.” After the orders expire residents can enter these areas. They must show proof of residency before entering. Non-residents cannot enter. Please give residents space to allow them a safe return home.

Klamath Falls Gospel Mission Recovery Center Thrift Store (aka Pumpkin Patch) on Klamath Avenue is giving away clothing to fire evacuees. Red Cross Hygiene bags are available as well. And if evacuees need a place to stay call 541-882-4895. Men’s shelter and women’s shelter have bed spaces.

More places that are working to help those in need and how to give it include: Klamath Freedom Celebration organizers are accepting donations from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Klamath County FairgroundsKlamath Food Bank says you can drop off fresh produce and nonperishables at 3231 Maywood Dr., Klamath Falls, between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.  

Drop off nonperishables, clothes, hygiene products and gift cards to local businesses at 1931 Mission Ave., Klamath Falls. Their most needed items include, Jackets, Deodorant (men’s and women’s), Toothpaste, Combs and hairbrushes and Nail clippers. And the Klamath Tribes asks that you drop new clothing, dry packaged food, pet food, water, tents, batteries, flashlights, gas cards, toiletries, blankets, books, stuffed animals etc. at 3949 S 6th St., Klamath Falls between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday  Several other organizations are helping with recovery efforts. 

Klamath County Public Health officials report three new cases of COVID-19 in the community, bringing the local count to 246. This week’s count is three. COVID-19 has claimed two more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 511. Oregon Health Authority reported 151 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday, bringing the state total to 29,484.

Healthy Klamath: Local Wild Fire Resources Page

Healthy Klamath recognizes the many wildfires taking place throughout Oregon and that individuals and families have been directly impacted within our community. We have taken steps to collect resources and put them in one central place for those who need assistance at this time. 

   CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE INFORMATION

As much as we have tried to make this a comprehensive list, there is a focus on the Two Four Two Fire, and we know there could be additional information we are missing. Please feel free to reach out to the Blue Zones Project team directly to add your organization to the PDF document or to let us know of other helpful resources that we are not yet aware of.

Thank you to those who have responded to protect our neighbors, friends, families, and property. 

Resources Include:

  • Daily Fire Media & Updates
  • Evacuee Information
  • Emotional Support Services
  • Donation and Volunteer Opportunities
  • State of Oregon Media & Updates and Additional Wild Fire Resources

A walking tour of Linkville Cemetery will be offered at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, by the Klamath County Historical Society.

Society members will discuss several early-day residents of Klamath County who are buried in the cemetery. The tour will also include the story of Fred Melhase, who has two resting places in the cemetery. Other historical figures will include private detective Fred Morley and veterans of the Civil War and World War II. The tour will begin at the flagpole near the cemetery entrance. The tour is free and open to anyone interested. Most of the tour will be on paved roads, with brief portions off the road.

Around the state of Oregon

Half a million people have fled their homes in Oregon as wildfires continue to ravage the state.  The Oregon Office of Emergency Management said yesterday that number is expected to continue growing in the coming days.  Nearly one-million acres of land are currently burning in the state.  

Fire crews continue to focus on protecton of life and property. Evacuation orders continue to change as fire activity and containment levels change; check wildfire.oregon.gov for the latest maps and evacuation levels. Air quality remains at hazardous levels down the I-5 corridor and the Columbia Gorge. Red Flag Wanings for high winds remain in effect in parts of Jackson, Lake and Klamath Counties.

The Brattain Fire is currently burning on the Paisley Ranger District of the Fremont-Winema National Forest.  It is currently burning approximately 10 miles south of Paisley in sagebrush-juniper with stringers of ponderosa pine in steep, rugged terrain with limited access points and high winds. As of Monday it was estimated to be 30,000 acres with no containment.

Containment line has been established in the northeastern area of the fire along Hwy 31.  Patrols continued work in the northeast and east to reinforce black line and protect property.  Dozer work in the southern portion of the fire made significant progress and crews continued structural protection work in these areas. The most significant fire growth occurred on the northwest perimeter as the fire crossed the Chewaucan River in the evening.  Additional fire resources were assigned to this area due to fire spread.


Today: Warm and dry conditions coupled with strong, gusty winds will continue to be a challenge.  A Red Flag Warning is in effect from 12 – 8 PM. Additional firefighting ground resources and aircraft are expected to arrive to bolster efforts.  Forest Road 3510 and Clover Flat Road are being prepped as holding lines and mop up work will continue on the south and southwest perimeters. Establishing containment lines and structure protection are a priority in the northwest region of the fire.  

Latest evacuation information for the Brattain Fire outside Paisley from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office:

Level 3

·        Highway 31 from Government Harvey Road (Forest Road 29) south to include all of Paisley – from Red House Lane (north of Paisley), continuing south on Highway 31 to Valley Falls/the junction with U.S. Hwy 395.

·        All of Clover Flat Road from the intersection with Hwy 31 (Beachler’s Corner) south to Valley Falls.

·        West of Highway 31 to Forest Road 28.

Level 2

·        From Government Harvey Road/Forest Road 29 north to Summer Lake Store.

Level 1

·        From Summer Lake Store north along Highway 31 to the top of Picture Rock Pass.

·        Abert Lake area southeast on 395, south on Highway 31 to Chandler State approximately 5 miles south of Valley Falls.

The Brattain Fire is active on both the north and south ends due to erratic winds.  If you don’t need to be in the area, please leave now. Highway 31 is open, but prepared for traffic congestions, delays and increased fire traffic.  Please use caution driving in the area. The Red Cross has an evacuation area at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Lakeview (1900 North 4th St.).  There is fire information there as well.

A man who reportedly pointed a handgun at a Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy was shot and killed by police Saturday in Lakeview.

According to law enforcement, at 2:30 p.m., a deputy responded to the Interstate 8 Motel in Lakeview for a report of shots fired. When the first deputy arrived,  police say a male subject exited a motel room with a handgun. A man pointed the firearm at the deputy and refused commands to drop the weapon the deputy fired one round and the suspect went back into the room and closed the door. Oregon State Police SWAT team responded to the scene. After entering the motel room, a man was found dead. Oregon State Police Major Crimes Section and Oregon State Police Forensics Division are investigating. The suspect has not been identified. The deputy involved has been placed on paid administrative leave. Any further information will be released by or with the permission of the Lake County District Attorney’s Office.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality extended its air quality advisory through Thursday. Local air quality will fluctuate between hazardous and unhealthy. Some symptoms, like dry cough, sore throat, and difficulty breathing can be caused by both wildfire smoke exposure and COVID-19. At least 10% of statewide emergency department visits since last Thursday were due to asthma-like symptoms. For those who are feeling anxious or depressed, with the compounding traumas of wildfires, smoke and COVID-19, Little recommends touching base with behavioral health resources, such as Klamath Basin Behavioral Health and The Klamath Tribes Youth and Family Guidance Center.

Three major US cities being wreathed in smoke from massive wildfires now have the worst air quality of any big cities in the world, according to a monitoring group. The air is so full of smoke in Seattle and San Francisco, it’s at ‘unhealthy’ levels, according to the Air Quality Index. But in Portland and Salem,  things are significantly worse. The air there is ‘very unhealthy,’ meaning that anyone breathing it in, ‘may experience more serious health effects.’ According to IQAir, a group which tracks global air quality, Portland, Seattle and San Francisco have the worst air quality of any major cities around the world. But things are even worse outside of the big cities, according to the EPA’s own air quality index trackers. Large swaths of Oregon, Washington state and even parts of British Columbia in Canada are experiencing ‘hazardous’ air quality. The EPA says the air quality in Salem, Oregon’s capital, is so bad that people need to stay indoors and reduce activity levels.

An Oregon sheriff says authorities are searching for a person suspected of setting eight suspicious fires around the communities of Sweet Home and Brownsville early Monday morning. The area is about 60 miles southwest of a large fire that wiped out numerous communities in Oregon’s Santiam Valley and forced thousands to evacuate. Linn County Sheriff Jim Yon says deputies are searching for a 1990s Nissan pickup truck that’s either white or silver with a black canopy. The truck was seen in the area of one of the fires. Meanwhile, authorities say a homeless man with mental health issues was arrested early Monday on suspicion of starting seven small brush fires in Portland, Oregon, in the past 24 hours. Police say 45-year-old Domingo Lopez Jr., was arrested on charges of reckless burning and disorderly conduct after starting a small brush fire with a Molotov cocktail Sunday afternoon. He was arrested again early Monday morning on six additional counts of reckless burning after police say he lit multiple fires west of Interstate 205.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission said on Sunday that it is suspending the liquor license for Rogue Jet Boat Adventures, alleging that the company was not enforcing social distancing or face coverings at a large gathering. On September 10, the OLCC issued an Order of Immediate License Suspension to the licensee of Rogue Jet Boat Adventures in Jackson County for violating public health social distancing and face covering requirements. OLCC says the business holds liquor sales licenses, yet is “not allowed to sell or serve alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption or sell any alcoholic beverages for off-site consumption.” It says that on September 4, the OLCC responded to and monitored an event in Central Point adjacent to the Rogue River on property controlled by Rogue Jet Boat Adventures; it says the event itself was organized by a third party, Jefferson State Outfitters. OLCC staff observed more than 200 people in attendance, some not wearing face coverings or social distancing as required by State guidelines. The Commission says alcohol servers under control of Rogue Jet Boat Adventures also were not wearing face coverings or maintaining social distancing requirements. This immediate license suspension is the third OLCC has issued to alcohol licensees for failures to comply with face covering or social distancing requirements.

Environmental icon George Atiyeh remains missing after the Beachie Creek fire destroyed his home near Lyon last week.  Atiyeh’s daughter Aniese Mitchell took to Facebook Friday night to announce her family has officially listed her 72-year-old father as a missing person in the Beachie Creek fire.  Mitchell tells the Oregonian she last spoke with her father a week ago Monday night, and that he’d been determined to stay in his home despite the fire.  Atiyeh is known for his work to block the U.S. Forest Service from clear-cutting the old growth forests around Opal Creek in the Willamette National Forest.  Congress passed legislation in 1996 protecting the area from logging.

Thanks to requests by state leaders for federal funds allocated by members of Congress to provide training in advance of wildfire season, more than 300 members of the Oregon National Guard were trained in July by the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) as wildland firefighters. 

This training was pro-actively offered by DPSST at the request of Governor Brown and the Oregon National Guard so that our State’s citizen-soldiers and citizen-airmen could be activated and deployed much faster should the need arise for their assistance.  The current wildfires around the state show the importance of this pro-active training as three teams of Oregon National Guard members have been deployed to date.  DPSST has provided refresher training on the use of emergency fire shelters to those being deployed (photos attached).

The training offered at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem earlier this year is often known as “red card” training and consists of both classroom and hands-on sessions. The training provided is the same training required of all public and private wildland firefighters.

The Oregon National Guard has a proven track record of supporting wildfire suppression efforts, from the air and on the ground, around the state in recent years. In 2015, members of the Guard assisted with wildfire suppression efforts in John Day and Enterprise. In 2017, more than 400 citizen-soldiers and citizen-airmen supported Oregon’s firefighting efforts (air and ground) at High Cascades Complex (near Crater Lake), Chetco Bar, Blanket Creek, Horse Prairie, and Milli fires.

As part of the State’s coordinated and comprehensive wildfire suppression efforts, the Guard has a long-standing agreement with the Oregon Department of Forestry known as Operation Plan Smokey, which stipulates the details of how Guard members will be utilized to assist in annual firefighting efforts if needed. This agreement is reviewed on an annual basis by both agencies and the Governor’s Office.

DPSST is preparing to train more than 200 additional members of the Oregon National Guard later this week in case their assistance will also be needed.  This training will take a week and will be held at Camp Rilea in Warrenton due to air quality conditions at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem. Due to staffing needs created by wildfires around the state, DPSST is recieving assistance from instructors from the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute and the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management.

DPSST Director Eriks Gabliks said “DPSST is honored to help support this important mission that has a proven record of success in training over 1,000 members of the Guard for wildland firefighting duties over the past five years. We value and appreciate the partnership we enjoy with the Oregon National Guard and the deployment of three teams of citizen-soldiers and citizen-soldiers on short notice shows the importance of the federal funds made available by Congress for the training our agency was able to provide.”

A Marion County, Oregon man was sentenced to federal prison today for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm as a convicted felon, announced U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams.

Mark William Osburn, 39, was sentenced to 180 months in federal prison and five years’ supervised release by U.S. District Judge Karin Immergut.

According to court documents, on September 23, 2018, an Oregon state trooper stopped Osburn after observing him commit several traffic violations. Osburn gave the trooper a fraudulent Washington State driver’s license in another man’s name. A records check revealed that the other man had an Oregon concealed handgun license, proving that the license Osburn produced was a fake. Troopers searched Osburn’s car and found ten fentanyl pills, approximately 74 grams of methamphetamine, and a pistol.

In a separate incident in December 2018, Salem Police officers executed a search warrant at a local motel room after receiving information that Osburn and his girlfriend were selling drugs out of the room. Officers found and seized methamphetamine, user quantities of cocaine and heroin, digital scales, several firearms, ammunition, counterfeit currency, fake identification cards, and $2,300 in cash, among other items. Officers also found a shotgun in Osburn’s vehicle.

Osburn told investigators that he and his girlfriend had been living in the motel room for two months. He admitted to using and selling methamphetamine, and claimed to have sold up to a kilogram of methamphetamine in a 24-hour period. He further admitted to trading drugs for firearms.

Osburn was charged with two counts of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; two counts of felon in possession of a firearm; one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and one count each of possession of fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine. On February 8, 2020, Osburn pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of actual methamphetamine, and two counts of felon in possession of a firearm. Osburn has an extensive criminal history that includes six prior state convictions for delivering methamphetamine.

Klamath Falls News from partnership with the Herald and News, empowering the community.

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