Klamath Basin News, Thursday, 8/19 – 2,975 New Covid-19 Cases In The State, 30 New in Klamath County Overnight

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Thursday, August 19, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny and smoky skies with a high near 80.

Friday Sunny, with a high near 84.
Saturday Sunny, with a high near 81.
Sunday Sunny, with a high near 88.

Today’s Headlines

Activists who may have been ready to appear in Klamath County and along the Oregon-California border regarding water and water rights for area farmers did not show up for a clash with authorities.

The federal Bureau of Reclamation who had shut off water for most of the region’s 1,400 farms, denying access to the same irrigation canal in Klamath Falls, where during a drought two decades earlier, activists tried to pry open its headgates and clashed with U.S. marshals. Klamath Falls seemed primed to explode, but it never materialized. The Klamath Basin rebellion appears to have fizzled in large part because local agricultural and community leaders spoke out strongly against it. Emails show that Klamath County Sheriff Chris Kaber was in regular communication with FBI agents and Department of Interior law enforcement officers about the possible threat of “outside agitators” coming into town.

There are 11 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,975 the Oregon Health Authority reported Wednesday. Oregon Health Authority reported 2,139 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday today bringing the state total to 247,866.

Today we’re reporting 2,139 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today bringing the state total to 247,866. The new cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (18), Benton (25), Clackamas (101), Clatsop (22), Columbia (19), Coos (33), Crook (36), Curry (38), Deschutes (112), Douglas (169), Gilliam (2), Grant (1), Harney (2), Hood River (4), Jackson (292), Jefferson (17), Josephine (140), Klamath (30), Lane (153), Lincoln (38), Linn (77), Malheur (13), Marion (194), Morrow (15), Multnomah (201), Polk (68), Tillamook (20), Umatilla (85), Union (38), Wallowa (10), Wasco (7), Washington (112) and Yamhill (47). 

On Wednesday, OHA reported that 9,355 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. As of Wednesday, 2,562,634 people have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 2,358,018 people have completed a COVID-19 vaccine series. The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 850, which is 12 more than day prior. There are 224 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit beds, which are two more than day prior. As of Wednesday morning, there are 41 available adult ICU beds out of 652 total (6% availability) and 292 available adult non-ICU beds out of 4,193 (7% availability).

As Oregon’s health system continues to be clobbered by the state’s worst COVID-19 surge, officials reported on Tuesday that 93% of the state’s hospital beds for adults and 90% of the intensive care unit beds are full. There are 838 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Oregon — surpassing the state’s record, which was set the previous day, by 86 patients. Before this month, the hospitalization record was 622 in November, during a winter surge and when vaccines were not available. As of Tuesday a mere 66 ICU beds and 275 available adult non-ICU beds are available, the Oregon Health Authority reported. Oregon also set a new daily case record with 2,941 identified coronavirus cases — fueled by the highly transmissible delta variant, which has rapidly spread, especially in southern Oregon where vaccination rates lag.

Klamath Falls City Schools parents are encouraged to bring their “kinders” to the organization’s kinder phase-in. The first experience of coming to school is less overwhelming for new students if they attend orientation before coming every day. The benefits to attending the kindergarten launch/phase-in allows students to experience in a small class to learn how school works, to be familiar with the building, to show and practice procedures for lunch. It also helps teachers place students into classrooms. The first week launch phase-in also provides an emotionally safe environment to get some of the “jitters” out before a long day begins on the regular school day the following week.

Bonanza Elementary School physical education teacher Jason Hardrath climbed his way into Pacific Northwest mountaineering history by scaling all of Washington’s 100 tallest peaks in just 50 days, 23 hours, 43 minutes. The feat took him through 869 miles of Washington State’s mountain terrain while accumulating over 411,500 feet of elevation gain. This list of 100 peaks is commonly referred to as “Bulger’s List,” which as of this writing has only been completed 82 times. Most who complete the list, which was created in 1980, take four or more years to complete it. The previous speed record for the feat had been 1 year, 1 month, 15 days before Hardrath blew that apart by doing the entire challenge in less than two months. Since finishing, Hardrath is taking some hard-earned rest, but is already looking forward to getting back out in the mountains.

Lakeview, ORCrews worked overnight to increase and secure containment lines on the Patton Meadow Fire, while rising humidity complicated operations to burn out fuels in the area around Patton Meadow. The rind along the edge of containment lines in several areas was increased from 50 feet up to 150 feet, while crews checked for hotspots to prevent flare ups in the interior of the fire.   

Day shift operations will continue mop-up on the south, lower east and west corners of the fire. Snagging crews will work to clear dangerous standing dead trees, paving the way for mop up crews to work deeper into the fire’s footprint.

Today’s weather forecast of moderate temperatures and light winds will be favorable for burnout efforts to continue in the area around Patton Meadow. Crews have prepared for burnout operations by laying hose and fortifying control lines before introducing fire to consume remaining fuels. 

As the threat to structures decreases, OSFM will be returning task forces to their home agencies. OSFM will maintain an adequate number of resources to complete the work that needs to be done. Remaining task forces will continue with structural assessments and assisting wildland crews where needed.

With the successful efforts on the Willow Valley Fire, last night was the last night shift on the fire. Today will be the last day shift with the fire team handing the fire back to the local BLM district.

ODF Team 3, OSFM Blue Team, and Lake County Sheriff’s Office would like to invite you to a Fireside Chat with the Fox Complex Leadership. Please join us this afternoon, Thursday, August 19, at 2:00 pm on the front lawn of the Lake County Fairgrounds. Details can be found here – https://fb.me/e/2CIkOohpD

Lake County Sheriff’s Office evacuation details can be found by visitng https://www.facebook.com/Lake-County-Oregon-104435824529906.

Around the state of Oregon

A coalition of Oregon legislators were joined by Governor Kate Brown on Wednesday in saying that the state will accept refugees fleeing the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban. On Tuesday evening, a number of state representatives and senators led by Rep. Khanh Pham and Senator Kayse Jama distributed a letter addressing Governor Brown and members of Oregon’s congressional delegation, urging them to work for safe passage for Afghans fleeing the growing humanitarian crisis caused by the US withdrawal from the country and the Taliban’s toppling of the government. By Wednesday morning, the list of lawmakers grew to include House Speaker Tina Kotek and Senate President Peter Courtney, among others. Representative Pam Marsh was among the supporters of the original letter. Before noon, Governor Brown put out her own statement in support of the letter: In their letter, Rep. Pham and Sen. Jama highlighted their commitment to welcome vulnerable and displaced violence and oppression, particularly women, children, and LGBTQ+ people who face the threat of violence or death. 

Firefighters in Siskiyou County continue to battle multiple active wildfires sparked by thunderstorms more than two weeks ago, sustained by high winds and dry vegetation even as temperatures drop to more reasonable levels. At 59,127 acres and 27 percent containment, the Antelope Fire around the remote community of Tennant remains the largest fire in Siskiyou County — dwarfing the nearby Lava and Tennant fires, now dormant, that broke out in late-July. The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office expanded evacuation warnings around the Antelope Fire, stretching southwest to the slopes of Mount Shasta and to the south and east bordering Highway 89 and Old Camp Two Road. Communities like Tennant and Bray remain in an island of evacuation warnings, surrounded by mandatory evacuation areas as the fire continues to burn east and southwest. Weather conditions continue to be an issue for fire crews, who find the problem of smoke quickly replaced by the increased fire activity of high winds.

Relief may be soon be arriving to salmon imperiled by exceptionally low flows in the Scott and Shasta rivers this summer. The California State Water Resources Control Board adopted regulations Tuesday to limit irrigation diversions and groundwater pumping in both watersheds, which produce a significant proportion of the Klamath Basin’s salmon populations. The Scott River contains an evolutionary significant unit of Southern Oregon Northern California Coast Coho Salmon, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The sub-basins also produce as much as 20% of the Klamath’s fall Chinook runs. Both species are culturally important food sources to the Karuk, Yurok, Hoopa Valley and Quartz Valley tribes and provide an economic resource for ocean fishermen on the Northern California coast.

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