Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 6/1 – Sycan Wildfire Over 679 Acres North of Beatty With 10% Containment As of Today

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Monday, June 1, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 94. Overnight, clear with a low around 64.

Wednesday A 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2pm. Sunny, with a high near 94. Overnight a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms before 11pm.
Thursday Sunny, with a high near 90. West wind 5 to 8 mph.
Friday Sunny, with a high near 88.
Saturday Sunny, with a high near 83.

Today’s Headlines

Emergency alerts on cell phones and radio and TV stations were activated over the weekend in Klamath County.

Residents of the Sycan area were told to “be ready”, also known as level 2, in the evacuation tier. The Sycan River Fire continues to burn on the Fremont-Winema National Forest in Klamath County approximately 20 miles north of Beatty. The fire is estimated to be approximately 679 acres today at 10AM with 10% containment at this time. Firefighters are making good progress at the moment on the fire.

Approximately 5 acres of private wildlands are in the fire area. The fire was reported Sunday afternoon around 2:30. The cause is under investigation.  Firefighters made progress great progress on the fire overnight, with an estimated 80 percent of the fire lined and successful burnout operations took place.

Firefighters are focusing on the southern side of the fire today to strengthen protection for nearby private lands.  Resources on the fire include engines, fire crews, dozers, water tenders and aerial resources from federal and state agencies and contractors.

The South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership (SCOFMP) Type 3 Team took over management of the Sycan River Fire this morning. Forest Road 27 is closed from the intersection with Forest Road 30 north to the intersection with Forest Road 46. This closure is for firefighter and public safety.  This is the only road closure associated with the fire. However, drivers should be prepared for increased fire traffic in the area and aware of their surroundings. This includes large equipment on narrow Forest roads and traffic on area highways.

A Level 2 (get set) evacuation order remains in place for the Sycan Forest Estates per the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office. This means residents need to be prepared to leave immediately if needed.

Meanwhile, over in the Rogue Valley, The East Antelope Fire is currently 30 acres, 95% lined and 0% mopped up.

East Antelope road is blocked by Jackson County Emergency Management, and Level 2 evacuations for all addresses south of the roadblock at 8465 E. Antelope Road are still issued. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Multiple resources are being ordered for night operations near White City.

There are three new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,671, the Oregon Health Authority reported today. Oregon Health Authority reported 220 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of today, bringing the state total to 201,475.

Only six new cases were reported in Klamath County yesterday in the OHA daily report.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Clackamas (35), Clatsop (1), Columbia (3), Coos (1), Curry (1), Deschutes (17), Douglas (15), Jackson (17), Josephine (6), Klamath (6), Lane (21), Lincoln (3), Linn (9), Marion (31), Morrow (2), Multnomah (39), Polk (5), Tillamook (1), Union (1), Wasco (4), Yamhill (2).

The state of Oregon is nearing four million doses administered for Covid-19 vaccines, according to data collected by the Oregon Health Authority.

On Sunday OHA reported that 2,203,469 doses of Pfizer, 1,599,347 first and second doses of Moderna and 142,531 single doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines have been administered across the state. That totals up to a grand total of 3,945,347 doses administered across the state since vaccinations began.

However, new daily vaccination rates continue to decrease across the state. According to OHA on Sunday, 17,982 doses of new Covid-19 vaccine doses were added to the state’s immunization registry. Of this total, only a little more than 8,100 doses were administered on Saturday while the rest were from previous days. The seven-day running average also fell to 19,942 doses, that’s according to the Covid-19 vaccine tracker on the Oregon Health Authority’s website. 

Klamath County reports a decline in cases each week now for the past four weeks, yet remains in the high risk category, one of only a handful of counties in the state- and US- with such sanctions.

On Saturday, May 29, 2021 at approximately 8:22 P.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a single vehicle crash on Hwy 97 near mile post 173 in northern Klamath County.

Preliminary investigation revealed an Audi All-Track, operated by Richard Enquist (41) of Bend, was southbound when it went off the roadway and rolled. Enquist sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased. OSP was assisted by the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Lapine Fire Department, ODOT, and Central Oregon Police Chaplaincy.

The Beavers Charitable Trust has awarded $16,000 to Mitch Hokanson, a junior Civil Engineering student at Oregon Tech, according to an Oregon Tech news release.

The Dutra Scholarship is awarded to a student with experience in construction and who intends to pursue a career in the heavy construction industry. Starting in high school in Happy Camp, Calif., Hokanson has spent each of his summers working in the construction industry. He has worked on many diverse projects, large and small, including household plumbing, city utility installation and repair, road grading, heavy equipment operation, and project management.

For the summer of 2021, Hokanson will work his second internship with Wildish Construction. He will pursue a long-term career in the heavy construction industry. He is a first-generation college student raised by a single mother, and is the father of a two-year-old son.

Warm temperatures and a low snowpack allowed Crater Lake National Park to open the North Entrance Road and West Rim Drive for the nice Memorial Day Weekend.

Opening the roads means easier access to the park for people traveling north towards Bend or the Rogue Valley or south towards Klamath Falls and typically results in much higher visitation. The road openings took effect Friday Superintendent Craig Ackerman said visitors can now access “spectacular views of the lake from West Rim Drive.” Some snow still remains throughout the park, including many locations around and along Rim Drive. All trails are still covered with snow and debris.

The Cleetwood, Watchman and upper half of Garfield Peak trails are all officially closed because of hazardous conditions. Also closed is the path to the Sinnott Memorial Overlook.

Around the state of Oregon

Three people are dead and two more are critically injured after a fatal, three-vehicle, head-on collision on Highway 58, eight miles west of Oakridge at milepost 27, Oakridge Fire and EMS said.

Oregon State Police said a Ford Taurus operated by 31-year-old James Johnson of Oakridge, was passing in a no passing zone when it collided with a Chrysler Town and Country, operated by 63-year-old Michael Cary of Oakridge who then collided with an eastbound Mazda 3.

The three occupants in the Mazda 3 were pronounced deceased from injuries, officials said.  They said a fourth occupant was transported to the hospital with serious injuries. Officials also said Cary was not transported but later went to the hospital for treatment but Johnson was transported to the hospital.

Officials said the collision happened just west of Black Canyon Campground around 10:15 a.m. on Sunday morning.

Significant staffing shortages at the Oregon State Hospital prompted health officials to call for the National Guard’s assistance at the psychiatric facility this week.

The state’s health authority, which oversees the hospital, requested 30 nurses from the National Guard. The governor’s office has not reached a decision on whether to fill that request.

Officials say the hospital, which employs 1,800 people and has more than 600 patients, is full and temporarily stopped new admissions. The hospital treats some of the state’s most vulnerable: those found guilty except for insanity, civil commitment patients, and those ordered to the hospital by a judge on aid and assist orders.

The staffing crisis at the hospital has persisted on and off throughout the pandemic. But the number of staff out on coronavirus-related leave has increased dramatically since February.

Man Dies After Falling 500 Feet Off  Mount Hood

Sadly a climber hiking Mount Hood fell to his death Sunday, according to Oregon officials.

a group of people standing on top of a snow covered mountain: Rescuers found the victim dead on Mount Hood Sunday afternoon.
Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office

The man, identified only as a 63-year-old, was climbing with his adult son when he fell approximately 500 feet from the Old Chute route, at approximately 10,500-foot elevation, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Portland Mountain Rescue, the Hood River Crag Rats and American Medical Response’s Reach and Treat Team all began searching for the victim, but struggled to navigate a difficult terrain and hazards from hydrogen sulfide and other toxic gases.

Rescuers found the victim dead on Mount Hood Sunday afternoon. (Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office/)

Around 10:30 a.m. Sunday, rescuers made visual contact with the victim, who was already dead when they reached him. Around 4:30 p.m., they were able to load the victim into a ”skiable rescue litter basket” and carry him down the mountain.

“Warm weather at this time of year can create very unstable conditions on this area of Mt. Hood, including falling ice,” the sheriff’s office warned in a statement. “The addition of many climbers of varying skill levels can add additional hazards.”

Recent Report Shows Water Infrastructure Across Oregon Is Becoming Too Expensive For Local Governments To Afford

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The League of Oregon Cities partnered with Portland State University to survey water supply and quality throughout the state.

They found decades of backlogged water infrastructure needs, and cities across Oregon are struggling to pay the price. The survey shows water infrastructures across Oregon need billions of dollars of improvement.

Tracy Rutten is with the League of Oregon Cities. She says state and federal governments should step in and offer funding help. “There are a lot of communities that are already having citizens that are feeling the financial stress of those increased water and sewer rates,” said Hall. “So I think they’re really finding themselves in a tough position of, do you continue to increase those rates to try and finance this really important and necessary infrastructure locally?”

Rutten said smaller and lower-income communities are hit especially hard by rising utility costs. She thinks federal and state governments should help bridge the gap between what local utilities can afford and what low-income residents can pay.

“A lot of our cities have established their own water rate or sewer rate assistance programs,” said Rutten. “But for a community that is lower income or has a really small population, you’re kind of taking out of the existing water rates only to put back as assistance for low income. So it doesn’t always make sense to do it locally.”

The League of Oregon Cities report assumes that the need for affordable drinking water will increase in coming years, particularly in areas prone to earthquakes. The survey identified approximately $23 billion in statewide water infrastructure costs over the next 20 years — which would be a nearly impossible bill for local governments to cover alone.

Teen Pinned Beneath Vehicle Succumbs to Injuries

At approximately 3:30 a.m. this morning, May 31, 2021, officers responded to the call of a person pinned beneath a vehicle in the south parking lot of Riverfront Park. On arrival, officers found a 15-year-old young man trapped underneath a car.

Four teenage friends were in the vehicle driving through the parking lot. When the 16-year-old female driver stopped the vehicle, the young man exited and climbed onto the hood. The driver proceeded forward when the young man slid off the hood, ultimately becoming pinned under the vehicle.

Another young woman in the group called 9-1-1 immediately, while the fourth juvenile attempted to get assistance.

Salem Fire Department personnel arrived to extricate the injured teen after which paramedics immediately transported him to Salem Health where he died from his injuries.

Due to the age of victim and those involved in the tragic incident, names are not being released. The Salem Police Traffic Team is handling the investigation and no further information will be released at this time. — Salem Police Dept

Record Heat Wave in Western USA

A heatwave is pounding the West where scorching temperatures will reach Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona on Tuesday.

PHOTO: A map shows record heat expected in California and the western U.S., June 1, 2021. (ABC News)
PHOTO: A map shows record heat expected in California and the western U.S., June 1, 2021. (ABC News)

Sacramento smashed a record high on Memorial Day, reaching 104 degrees.

Redding, also in Northern California, reached a sweltering 109 degrees on Monday, breaking the record for the entire month of May.

On Tuesday temperatures are expected to climb to 107 degrees in Bakersfield, California; 105 degrees in Las Vegas; 104 degrees in Medford, Oregon; and 104 degrees in Phoenix.

The heatwave comes as fire danger is especially high in southern Oregon, where a red flag warning has been issued. West anticipating dangerous fire season due to severe drought conditions.

California’s snow has been melting ahead of schedule, which means vegetation will be unusually dry as the Golden State approaches wildfire season later this summer and early fall.

Meanwhile, four states from Texas to Missouri are under flood alerts Tuesday morning. More flooding is forecast Tuesday as this storm system slowly moves through the area.

By Wednesday, the severe weather and heavy rain will move into the Ohio River Valley and Tennessee River Valley with damaging winds and flash flooding possible.

By Thursday, the storm will reach the Northeast with severe weather and damaging winds expected from Virginia to New Jersey.

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