Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 8/10 – Bootleg Fire 96% Contained; 3,229 New Covid-19 Related Cases in the State of Oregon Overnight

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Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Heat Advisory in effect from August 11, 01:00PM until August 13, 09:00PM

Today Widespread haze before 2pm. Patchy smoke after 2pm. Sunny, with a high near 95. Overnight, patchy smoke, low around 59.

Wednesday Widespread haze between 8am and 11am. Patchy smoke before 8am. Sunny and hot, with a high near 98.
Thursday Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 99.
Friday Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 99.
Saturday Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 97.
Sunday Mostly sunny, with a high near 94.

Today’s Headlines

Bootleg Fire Update, August 10, 2021
Location: 28 miles northeast of Klamath Falls, OR 
Containment: 98%
Size: 413,765 acres (647 square miles)
Personnel: 938
Walrus Fire
Location: 10 miles north of Bonanza
Size: 75 acres
Containment: 90%
Yainax Fire
Location: 10 miles NE of Bonanza
Containment: 70%

The Bootleg Fire is nearly 100% contained. Having burned nearly 414,000 acres, containment has reached 96%. Containment on the 75-acre Walrus Fire is 90%, and 70% as of this morning on the 84-acre Yainax Fire.

Firefighters continue to grid and mop up in the northeast corner of the Bootleg Fire near Silver Creek as they work toward achieving 100% containment. Control lines that have already been secured are being patrolled and firefighters are removing pumps and hoses and other suppression supplies that are no longer needed. Some suppression repair activities are underway in the northeast corner of the fire.

The women and men of the Oregon National Guard have completed their tour on the Bootleg Fire and are packing up today and preparing to head home tomorrow, many to get ready for immediate overseas deployments. The guardsmen and women played a crucial role in containing some critical areas of the fire, and we are thankful for their service.

Ground resources on the Walrus and Yainax Fires have completed constructing containment lines and installing hose lays around both fires and are well into the mop-up phase.

Meanwhile, to the south, Cal Fire announced that the Dixie Fire, which has now burned 463,477 acres, has become the second largest wildfire in California’s history.

The wildfire burning near Chico and in the Lassen National Forest, is still the largest single wildfire in the state’s history. Almost 600 buildings have been consumed by the Dixie Fire so far according to Cal Fire. Only one other wildfire now stands in the way of history for the Dixie Fire as the largest wildfire in the state’s history. That would be the August Complex which last year burned more than a million acres and destroyed more than 900 structures.

Seven out of the top 10 largest wildfires in California have all come from Northern California, and six out of the top 10 largest wildfires in the state have happened in just the last two years.

Around the state of Oregon

Brown Declares State of Emergency For Extreme Heat in the State

Starting tomorrow, temperatures are expected to reach triple digits in another heat wave this summer.

Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency on Tuesday in anticipation of the extreme heat. The declaration frees up additional resources to respond to the situation.

The heat wave could impact critical infrastructure, causing outages and possible transportation disruptions, state officials say.

“Oregon is facing yet another extreme heat wave, and it is critical that every level of government has the resources they need to help keep Oregonians safe and healthy,” said Brown.

She also encourages Oregonians to take steps to keep themselves and their families safe, including drinking extra fluids, taking advantage of cooling centers and checking in on loved ones.

There are 14 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,903.  Oregon Health Authority reported 3,229 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today, bringing the state total to 230,103.

The 3,229 cases reported today include new infections recorded by counties for the three-day period between Friday and Sunday.

Many new cases have been identified among residents of Jackson, Josephine and Klamath counties.

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 575, which is 21 more than yesterday. There are 148 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is four more than yesterday.

OHA and Jackson County Public Health are investigating a COVID-19 outbreak associated with Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford. Jackson County Public Health is collaborating with Asante to support the medical center as they respond to the outbreak. 

Josephine County announces deaths of COVID-19 patients

Five Josephine County individuals have died from complications relating to COVID-19 infections.

A 73-year-old man tested positive for COVID-19 July 30 and died Aug. 6 at a long-term care facility in Grants Pass. He had underlying conditions. He had been vaccinated for COVID-19.

A 77-year-old man tested positive for COVID-19 July 31 and died Aug. 7 at Asante Three Rivers Medical Center in Grants Pass. He had no known underlying conditions. He had not been vaccinated for COVID-19.

A 64-year-old man tested positive for COVID-19 Aug. 5 and died Aug. 8 at Asante Three Rivers Medical Center in Grants Pass. He had underlying conditions. He had been vaccinated for COVID-19.

A 72-year-old man tested positive for COVID-19 July 17 and died Aug. 7 at Asante Three Rivers Medical Center in Grants Pass. He had underlying conditions. He had not been vaccinated for COVID-19.

A 52-year-old man tested positive for COVID-19 July 22 and died Aug. 6 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 88 COVID-19-related deaths. Of those patients, 87 died from complications relating to COVID-19 infections.

Nearly one in five Oregonians infected with COVID-19 in July was fully vaccinated against the disease.

The news represents a sizable leap in the share of total infections involving fully vaccinated people — from 2% in April to 19% in July — and underscores emerging information that the highly contagious delta variant is more likely to infect vaccinated people than earlier versions of the virus.

In a breakthrough cases report posted to the Oregon Health Authority’s website Thursday, officials say about 2,400 of the 12,514 people known to be infected by COVID-19 in the state in July were fully vaccinated. That leaves 81% of the infected Oregonians — or just over 10,000 in July — who were either unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated.

Eleven state lawmakers on Thursday will begin a politically Herculean task with historically small odds of success: Draw 96 new political districts in 46 days that will be used beginning with the 2022 election.

The six Democrats and five Republicans on the House and Senate redistricting committees are set to receive block-by-block U.S. Census data chock full of population and demographic changes since the last map-making 10 years ago. The pandemic and politics led to a six-month delay in delivery of the information on population changes and demographic shifts that is required to draw maps meeting federal and state laws. It took an Oregon Supreme Court ruling to give the Legislature the first shot at redistricting.

But the justices settled on a crushing timeline that would require a special session of the Legislature on Sept. 20 to ratify the maps in time to have them delivered to the court by Sept. 27.

Meanwhile, A lawsuit filed in Oregon Appellate Court last week is challenging the efforts of staff within Oregon’s Legislature to unionize. Oregon Public Broadcasting reports the Freedom Foundation — a group that combats public sector unions in Oregon, Washington and California — is seeking judicial review of the state Employment Relations Board’s ruling that cleared the way for legislative staff to vote to unionize in late May. Jason Dudash, Oregon director of the Freedom Foundation, said he believes the idea of a union is “fundamentally incompatible” with the work of the Legislature. The group argues that the bargaining unit representing legislative assistants is in conflict with the state law dividing power between Oregon’s three branches of government. The argument is nearly identical to one made by the Oregon Legislature itself last December when it objected to unionization efforts organized by staffer.

Oregon is dealing with a backlog of 25-thousand applications for emergency Rental Assistance. Oregon Housing and Community Services says software that’s used to process the applications doesn’t work well and it’s causing delays. A private vendor has been hired to have more than 60 people speed up the process. They’ll handle 85 hundred of the claims. Renters in Oregon who have applied for emergency rental assistance can’t be evicted for non-payment until the end of September.

If you’re planning an appointment at the DMV, don’t forget to bring a mask. All state offices with public contact resumed the mask requirement on July 30 due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in Oregon this summer. State offices are following the latest Oregon Health Authority guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus.
Masks are required inside DMV offices and during drive tests conducted by DMV, regardless of vaccination status. OHA strongly recommends face masks in indoor public settings. For the latest news and guidelines for COVID safety, visit the OHA site.

Meanwhile, Multnomah County is instituting new indoor masking requirements in public spaces, including businesses, making the state’s most populous and liberal county the first to reinstitute the restrictions amid a new surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations driven by the highly contagious delta variant. The restrictions, which will take effect Friday, apply to both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. For the first time they will be accompanied by an enforcement officer.  County Chair Deborah Kafoury and Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Vines are holding a 1:30 p.m. news conference to announce the restrictions and underlying details. They will be joined by Guadalupe Guerrero, the superintendent of Portland Public Schools, and leaders of local healthcare systems. State authorities and the governor have so far taken a hands-off approach to the latest surge and deferred any restrictions to local authorities. They have reiterated masking recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, which call on both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents in areas where coronavirus is spreading widely to wear masks. Thirty five of Oregon’s 36 counties fall into that bucket based on their case and test positivity rates. 

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