Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 7/27 – Cooler Temperatures Should Help Firefighters on Bootleg Fire, Now at 410,731 Acres, 53% Contained

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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Some showers and thunderstorms during the day, possibly producing heavy rain at times, with a high of 79. Overnight, expect a few showers and thunderstorms before midnight, with a low around 58.

Wednesday A 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 91. Calm wind becoming south southwest around 5 mph in the afternoon.
Thursday A 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms after 3pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 95.
Friday Sunny and hot, with a high near 97.
Saturday A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 96.

Today’s Headlines

Bootleg  Fire Update, Tuesday, July 27, 2021  

This morning’s rain should help firefighters on the Bootleg fire which has burned 410,731 acres and is 53% contained.

Incident Commander Norm McDonald stated today “We will continue operations with a focus on the safety of the community and our firefighters.  We’re continuing with community and agency partners to suppress the fire as effectively as possible to protect timber, ranchlands, and other local values.” 

As of yesterday, the southern boundary line continued to hold; this area remains in patrol status. Operations focus on eliminating remaining hot spots and burning out fuel pockets to widen the perimeter and secure the fire’s edges. 

Rugged terrain on the northwest side of the fire makes suppression slow going. There is a concentration of snags, downed logs, and slash that provide heavy fuels to the fire. And while progress is being made, this area continues to be a challenge. Favorable weather today will create a good window for direct attack. 

Temperatures are expected to cool today with an increase in humidity and likelihood of isolated showers continuing through tomorrow. The mild weather will have a short-term calming effect on the fire behavior. But due to the extremely dry conditions and fuels, as the week progresses and temperatures rise, aggressive fire behavior is likely to quickly rebound. 

Yesterday, a thorough damage assessment was finalized that tallied the number of buildings damaged and destroyed in Klamath and Lake counties. This fire has a very large footprint and it is important to fire managers that the impact to people’s homes and other structures be accurately examined and counted. Surveying experts were able to safely access remote areas where the fire has caused significant damage and provide updated reporting to fire managers. 

In total, 161 residences were destroyed and 247 outbuildings.  In addition, 342 vehicles were destroyed in the fire. These numbers may increase as firefighters and surveyors continue to work through the interior of the fire. 

For additional information on submitting insurance claims after a wildfire, please visit https://dfr.oregon.gov/insure/home/storm/Pages/wildfires.aspx or call the state’s team of consumer advocates at 888-877-4894 (toll-free). 

Evacuations:  Evacuations are dynamic. An interactive map of evacuation levels in Lake and Klamath Counties is available at  tinyurl.com/bootlegevac 

Red Cross Evacuation Shelters: For information or assistance: 1-800-Red-Cross (www.redcrossblog.org/disaster)   

Closures: The Fremont-Winema National Forest is closed to the public in the fire area. The full closure order and map are available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/fremont-winema/alerts-notices.    

Fire Information Public Phone: 541-482-1331 

Inciweb: inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7609/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/BootlegFireInfo  

There are two new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,838, the Oregon Health Authority reported on Monday.  Oregon Health Authority also reported 993 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the state total to 215,853.

Oregon has now administered 2,641,101 first and second doses of Pfizer, 1,777,797 first and second doses of Moderna and 179,091 single doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.

Four new cases were reported in Klamath County.

 A Josephine County individual has died from complications relating to a COVID-19 infection.

A 90-year-old man tested positive for COVID-19 July 15 and died July 25 at Asante Three Rivers Medical Center in Grants Pass. He had underlying conditions. He had not been vaccinated for COVID-19.

Josephine County now has a total of 80 COVID-19-related deaths. Of those patients, 79 died from complications relating to COVID-19 infections. None of the individuals were fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

Health officials say there was an increase in deaths from non-COVID-19 related conditions during the pandemic.  A Providence Health study found unplanned hospitalizations were cut up to 50-percent while deaths increased 20-percent.  People held off going to hospitals for heart issues, strokes and care for chronic conditions due to fear they’d get COVID-19.  Doctors say people need to know that medical clinics, hospitals, and emergency rooms are safe places to get medical care.

Hundreds of thousands of young salmon are dying in Northern California’s Klamath River as low water levels brought about by drought allow a parasite to thrive, devastating a Native American tribe whose diet and traditions are tied to the fish. And wildlife officials said the Sacramento River is facing a “near-complete loss” of young Chinook salmon due to abnormally warm water.

A crash in one year’s class of young salmon can have lasting effects on the total population and shorten or stop the fishing season, a growing concern as climate change continues to make the West hotter and drier. That could be devastating to the commercial salmon fishing industry, which in California alone is worth $1.4 billion.

Fishermen who make their living off adult salmon, once they enter the Pacific Ocean, are sounding the alarm as blistering heat waves and extended drought in the U.S. West raise water temperatures and imperil fish from Idaho to California.

Federal fisheries officials predicted in May that more than 80% of baby salmon could die because of warmer water in the Sacramento River. Now, state wildlife officials say that number could be higher amid a rapidly depleting pool of cool water in Lake Shasta. California’s largest reservoir is filled to only about 35% capacity, federal water managers said this week.

While stuck in COVID quarantine, the board members of Klamath Basin Youth Without Borders (KBYWB) got to work in constructing a new program for youth to travel with ease once Global Village allows trips, while also developing beautification projects at home in the Klamath Basin.

This will allow low income youth to travel with the program with all expenses covered, in return for 100 hours of community building services.

KBYWB’s mission is to foster cultural understanding, acceptance and respect between our youth and aid recipients with the goal to partner with the community in service projects at home and abroad. The organization works in partnership with Habitat for Humanity’s “Global Village” to allow youth the opportunity to travel abroad to developing countries and build homes over spring break. With this grant, KBYWB is planning a trip the spring of 2022.

Macy L. Clemens was awarded the Marine Corps League Crater Lake Detachment #373’s 2201scholarship, worth $1,000.

The scholarship was established in 2020 with a mission to award financial assistance to a student with a direct familial association with a Marine Corps League member, regular or associate, a child or grandchild of a formal military service member, or an applicant with current or former military service.

Applicants must be accepted for post-secondary study at an accredited technical trade school, community college, college, or university. In addition, they should either live in Klamath Falls, be a graduate of a Klamath County high school, or currently be enrolled in an accredited Klamath County college or trade school.

Around the state of Oregon

The search continues for a climber who went missing after falling several hundred feet on Mt. Jefferson.  Police say 33-year-old Steven Vanpelt was descending the mountain when he fell on Friday.  Search and rescue teams from several agencies are trying to find him.  

Life Flight and the Oregon Army National Guard searched by air over the weekend.  Search crews are battling difficult terrain, including snow, cliffs, large boulders, crevices and falling rock.

A Lane County sheriff’s deputy drowned Sunday at Foster Reservoir while attempting to help a young child, the Lane County Sheriff’s Office said Monday.

The sheriff’s office identified the deputy as Courtney Couch (Anderson).

Courtney, 36, was recreating with her family on Foster Reservoir when she accidentally drowned, the sheriff’s office said.

She was a veteran of the United States Army and had been a deputy with the Lane County Sheriff’s Office for seven years.

For our friends in nearby Modoc County, the state of California says it will require state employees and all health care workers to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or get tested weekly.

Officials are tightening restrictions in an effort to slow rising coronavirus infections in the nation’s most populous state, mostly among the unvaccinated. Officials announced Monday that the new rules will take effect next month.

There are at least 238,000 state employees and at least 2 million health workers. The state has struggled to make significant progress on getting more people vaccinated in recent weeks as infections are rising, with the highly contagious delta variant now making up an estimated 80% of infections.

Southern Oregon Historical Society member Alice Mullaly will present the Windows in Time lecture “Making History Together: The 75-year Story of the Southern Oregon Historical Society” on Wednesday, August 4 from noon to 1 p.m. via Zoom.

Learn about the most popular exhibit ever in the valley, a family that likely did more to preserve Southern Oregon history than any other, and what a modern neighborhood in transition can learn from where it has been.

The lecture is free and on Zoom. 

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