Klamath Basin News, Thursday, 7/22 – KCSD Offers Community Luncheon in Bly, Oregon Today 12PM, Bootleg Fire at 399,359 Acres Burned, 38% Contained

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Thursday, July 22, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Patchy smoke before 2pm. Sunny, with a high near 90. Overnight low around 53.

Friday Widespread haze. Sunny, with a high near 94. Low of 58 overnight.
Saturday Sunny and hot, with a high near 98.
Sunday Sunny and hot, with a high near 100.
Monday Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 97.
Tuesday Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 96.

Today’s Headlines

The Bootleg fire is at 399,359 acres with 38% containment. The fire remains most active on the northern and eastern portions with firefighting activity focused in the Winter Rim area and on private timber lands on the northwest portion of the fire.

Weather conditions were favorable again yesterday as crews work to secure lines on the nation’s largest wildfire, burning in Klamath and Lake counties.

On the northern edge of the fire, line was constructed to Long Creek and firefighters scouted a line to tie into the anchor point near the Sycan Marsh Nature Conservancy. The reduced fire activity yesterday allowed firefighters to construct dozer line directly against the fire edge along the north and east boundary of the Log Fire. There is expected northeast movement of the fire toward Winter Ridge and Summer Lake later in the week. Firefighters are continuing to work around the southeastern corner of the fire, where the majority of recent growth has occurred. As the fire pushes up into the old Watson Fire burn area, fuels become less continuous and fire behavior is decreased.

Firefighters continue to patrol the fireline along the southern to northwestern flanks of the fire.

Community lunch in Bly today, courtesy of the Klamath County School District and many sponsors, 12-1PM

The Klamath County School District will host a second community lunch from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, July 22 at the Antler Bar and Grill in Bly, which has opened its site to Bootleg Fire evacuees.

The community is invited. On the menu are roast turkey sandwiches, chips, and cookies. The district also has expanded its grab-and-go free meal program for youth ages 1-18 during the crisis.

Seven breakfasts and seven lunches can be picked up between noon and 1 p.m. Thursdays near the Antler Bar and Grill. The district will transport food and supplies to the site by school bus.

Antler Bar and Grill in Bly, Oregon

The district hosted the first community lunch in Bly July 15. About 160 people showed up for tri-tip sandwiches.

In less than two weeks, Southern Oregon’s Bootleg Fire has become the fourth-largest wildfire in state history. Officials say the fire was caused by lightning on July 6.

As of Wednesday, July 21, the fire has already burned 394,407 acres, which translates to more than 616 square miles  — an area larger than the city of Los Angeles.

Fire officials said 67 homes and 117 minor structures have been destroyed. A large but rural area is under Level 3 “go now” evacuation orders. 

Click here to see an evacuation map.  The fire burned an estimated 3,000 acres the day it started on July 7 in the Fremont-Winema National Forest northeast of Klamath Falls. It quickly ballooned in the first week, doubling in size multiple days in a row. 

A monument to one of the most curious tragedies of World War II was spared from the flames of the Bootleg Fire by fire crews, according to the Klamath County Museum. The Mitchell Monument, located northeast of Bly within the Fremont National Forest, commemorates the only American deaths by enemy action in the continental US during the entirety of World War II — the result of a largely unsuccessful campaign by the Japanese government to float thousands of bomb-laden balloons across the Pacific Ocean in order to rain terror down on their enemies.

Situated in the Fremont National Forest just south of Gearhart Mountain, the Mitchell Monument was directly in the path of the Bootleg Fire during its inexorable spread to the southeast. But extra effort from fire crews seem to have spared it from the worst the fire had to offer. According to the Museum, firefighters wrapped the stone monument with flame-retardant and insulating blankets. It’s unknown if the shrapnel tree a few feet from the monument survived.

Both Sky Lakes Medical Center retail pharmacies are now offering no-cost COVID-19 vaccinations from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays at Sky Lakes Outpatient Pharmacy, first floor of the medical center.

At Sky Lakes Downtown Pharmacy, located in the Holiday Market, 211 N. Eighth St., COVID-19 vaccinations are available 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Walk-ins are always welcome at both locations.

Also, the Sky Lakes Walk-in Vaccination Clinic, 2801 Daggett Ave., next to the Sky Lakes Collaborative Health Center, has changed its hours of operation. The clinic is now open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays and noon to 5 p.m. Thursdays. Appointments are not necessary for persons 12 and older to get COVID-19 vaccinations.

A parent or guardian must be present to sign a vaccination consent for persons 12-14 years old.

A celebrated annual event that draws spectators and competitors alike to Klamath County is slated to return July 31 – Aug. 1 after a year’s hiatus when the Bonanza Extravaganza community celebration returns to Bonanza, according to a news release.

The two-day event combines a multitude of events, most notably the annual Oregon State Chili Cook-off alongside activities such as a parade, car show, quilt show, art festival, games, music and more.

Coordinated by the Town of Bonanza, Bonanza Volunteer Fire Department, The Bonanza Lion’s Club, and the Bonanza Park & Rec District; the 16th annual event vastly grows Bonanza’s population for one weekend each year drawing competitors and classic car fans for two days of food and fun.

The event will include a parade at 11 a.m. beginning events on Saturday, July 31, followed by a show & shine car show, the Oregon State Chili Cook-Off, a quilt and afghan show, homemade hobby festival, children’s art festival, sack races, dunk tank, cornhole tournament, Lion’s Club children’s carnival, vendors, and live music featuring Cool Disposition on Saturday and Black Cadillac Kings on Sunday.

The Cascade Civil War Society will host a “Living History Weekend” August 14-15 at Fort Klamath Military Post Museum on Highway 62.

This nonprofit organization brings to life the American past during the 1860s and the Civil War. Tents and displays manned by re-enactors will allow visitors to view what life was like 160 years ago for both military and civilians, providing a chance to take an experiential look at the American past.

Demonstrations will provide an inside view of a period medical tent, black powder rifle and handgun operational use, blacksmithing, and more. A big draw to the living history weekend are the black powder cannons set on the field near the post’s museum. These cannons will be fired by visiting guests at an event called “Bang for the Buck,” where a fee is paid to fire the cannons which covers the cost of the black powder used.

Visitors should bring their own water as there is none on site. Lavatories are available in the museum building. The living history event runs on Saturday, August 14 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, August 15 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free and donations are accepted.

A Keno man pleaded guilty to multiple felony sexual abuse charges on Tuesday after a police investigation found he was engaged in sharing child pornography.

Daniel Patrick Donohue, 69, was sentenced to five years in state prison after pleading guilty to six counts of encouraging child sexual abuse in the first degree, a press release from Klamath County District Attorney Eve Costello’s office stated.

An Oregon State Police investigation, which began in January 2019, found Donohue was downloading and sharing images showing sexual abuse of children, the release stated. Court documents show Donohue was initially arrested in March 2020 and was charged with 10 counts of encouraging child sexual abuse.

Four of those charges were dismissed.  Upon his release from prison, Donohue will be required to register as a sex offender and serve a minimum of five years of post-prison supervision. 

Around the state of Oregon

Wildfires in the American West, including one burning in Oregon that’s currently the largest in the U.S., are creating hazy skies as far away as New York as the massive infernos spew smoke and ash into the air in columns up to six miles high.

Skies over New York City were hazy Tuesday as strong winds blew smoke east from California, Oregon, Montana and other states. The Bootleg Fire grew to 606 square miles  — half the size of Rhode Island. Fires also grew on both sides of California’s Sierra Nevada. In Alpine County, the so-called California Alps, the Tamarack Fire caused evacuations of several communities and grew to 61 square miles with no containment. The Dixie Fire, near the site of 2018’s deadly Paradise Fire, was more than 90 square miles and threatened tiny communities in the Feather River Valley region.

Governor Kate Brown is urging residents to be prepared for wildfires and the possibility they might have to evacuate.  Brown issued the warning yesterday.  She says this is one of the worst fire seasons in the state’s history.  Brown says everyone should have two week’s worth of supplies and be registered at the website OR ALERT DOT GOV to receive emergency alerts.

Due to fire danger and limited firefighting resources across the western U.S., effective Thursday, July 22 no campfires will be allowed in state parks and in state-managed forests east of Interstate 5, even in designated campfire areas.

This includes charcoal fires, cooking fires, warming fires, charcoal briquettes, pellet grills, candles, tiki torches and other devices that emit flames or embers.

Portable cooking stoves or propane lanterns using liquefied or bottle fuels are allowed, though propane fire pits are not. 

This ban covers all state-managed parks and forestlands east of Interstate 5, and includes prohibitions on fires in designated fire rings. The public can also anticipate restrictions in other areas based on fire danger.

Restrictions may increase as fire danger rises in other parts of Oregon and will remain in place until conditions moderate. State agencies strongly encourage checking fire danger levels and associated restrictions in a given area before traveling and daily during a visit. 

With hot, dry weather expected to continue and no relief forecasted in the foreseeable future — and several large fires on Oregon.   The step of banning campfires east of Interstate 5 was deemed a necessary measure to protect life and property in what is already a very challenging and dangerous fire season.  Particularly in times of elevated fire danger, maintaining capacity to respond quickly to new fire starts is critical.

Humans cause on average 70% or more of fires in Oregon, and these additional restrictions are intended to help reduce the number of human-caused fire starts. This will allow firefighters to focus on the existing large fires as well as new blazes that may emerge.

Oregon State University is reducing the amount of water it uses in response to Governor Kate Brown’s order directing state agencies to curtail nonessential water use.  

The order doesn’t apply to OSU, but the school is taking steps at all of its campuses.  Grass will be allowed to go dormant unless it’s an area where a lot of people walk on it.  Athletic fields will also be watered.  Most buildings already have low flow faucets and toilets.

Nine confirmed attacks on lambs and ewes were attributed to the Ukiah Pack of Wolves on private land eight miles south of Meacham — the first known report of this pack interacting with livestock.

According to an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife report, a sheep herder in the Kamela area of Mount Emily notified a ranch hand July 4 that sheep had scattered from around their bedding area near his trailer the previous evening.

There have been as many as 25 areas of known wolf activity in the Blue and Wallowa mountains north of Interstate 84 and six areas in the Blue Mountains south of Interstate 84 since wolves moved into Northeast Oregon from Idaho. Biologists have worked with the rancher who lost the sheep earlier this month for many years to reduce conflict with wolves.

Last year, Union County producers were paid $1,330 for dead or injured animals. The county also received $16,000 to be used for nonlethal deterrents to protect livestock.

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