Disasters & Accidents

The bodies of three family members were retrieved Tuesday from Hagg Lake west of Portland. They were relatives of a 3-year-old boy who died Monday after being taken unconscious from the lake.

Washington County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Bob Ray says the Hillsboro family members were found about 25 yards from where the boy’s body was found. They included his mother, grandmother, and the boy’s 13-year-old uncle.  

The victims were not wearing life jackets, Ray says. There was no evidence of foul play.  Sergeant Ray says the investigation is ongoing.

http://defazio.house.gov/

U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio of Oregon plans to use a rare procedure to force a vote on a bill to increase federal funding to fight wildfires. This as the U-S Forest Service is close to surpassing its firefighting budget for the year.

Central Oregon Fire Info

Fire season is calming down in the Northwest. Officials have dropped their preparedness level to 4. The region was at level 5 for 31 days-- an all time record.

More than 8 thousand firefighters were battling 21 large fires in Oregon and Washington at the height of this fire season. Linda Hecker is with the Northwest Fire Coordination Center in Portland. She says things are calming down, which has allowed officials to reduce the region's preparedness level.

Schin Haakenson / Inciweb

Monday night's lightning sparked several small forest fires east of Eugene. A red flag warning is in effect for most of Oregon through Tuesday with high temperatures and more thunderstorms expected.

Oregon Department of Forestry crews are battling a 20 acre blaze near Dexter. Officials say it isn't threatening any structures. ODF spokesman Nick Hennemann says crews are working to put the fire out as quickly as possible. It's unclear how many other small fires were sparked by lightning overnight.

Kyle Huges.

UPDATE: 5:15pm

kdrv.com

The Oregon Department of Forestry is preparing for another round of lightning strikes this weekend, which could spark additional wildfires. Lightning moved through the southern parts of the state yesterday sparking several blazes.

The Salt Creek Fire is the largest fire sparked, approximately 10-miles west of Shady Cove, along with two other smaller fires in the same vicinity. Oregon Department of Forestry Spokeswoman Jeri Chase says the lightning has been starting in southwest Oregon, then moves into the Cascades, and shifts into either the central or eastern parts of the State.

Schin Haakenson / Inciweb

Most of the major wildfires burning in Oregon are at or near containment, but a new round of intense lightning storms is forecast this week.

Fire officials say 6 of the 11 large wildfires in Oregon now range from 80 percent to fully contained. The blazes are burning east of the Cascades.
Carol Connolly with the Northwest Coordination Center says lightning is expected for the next couple of days.

Central Oregon Fire Info

Fires continue to rage through tinder-dry wildlands in Oregon, Washington and California. Nearly a million acres have burned so far, destroying more than 2-hundred homes. With the nation’s eyes turned toward the Northwest, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden and the Obama Administration have taken the opportunity to renew their efforts to change how the federal government pays to fight -- and prevent – wildfires.

In a conference call from Washington DC, Wyden said fire season in the West is changing, and fast.

Oregon State Police

A Benton County Sheriff's Office deputy found a vehicle Thursday morning down an embankment off Highway 34 belonging to an elderly Waldport man reported missing the day before to Lincoln County Sheriff's Office. The man was rescued from his vehicle northeast of Alsea and taken to a Corvallis hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Oregon State Police is investigating the crash and the man's family was notified that he was found safe.

Angela Kellner

Management at the Springfield Plywood and Veneer Mill began meeting individually with its employees Tuesday.  The mill burned down last week, putting 250 people out of work.  The owners are offering two possible employment alternatives at mills in Roseburg and Glendale.

Chuck Wert is the chief operating officer of Swanson Group, which owns the mill.

Wert: "As I understand it we spoke with around 60 employees today and about 40 of them that say they are interested in looking at the other job opportunities we have for them in Roseburg and Glendale."

Jessica Robinson

Residents of fire-ravaged central Washington say they're in a “state of shock.” Fires destroyed more houses over the weekend and prompted additional evacuation notices. Now, some people are sifting through the rubble of their former homes. Jessica Robinson has more from Okanogan County.

Kelsey Verbeck and her husband grabbed a few items before evacuating their home in Pateros, Wash. A diaper bag for their newborn. Work clothes for the next day.

Jessica Robinson

Quickly moving wildfires burning hundreds of thousands of acres in Oregon and Washington have pushed those states to the top of the national priority list for firefighting resources. Officials say 127 houses and other structures in the Northwest have been consumed by wildfires –- though there are reports of many more destroyed. Jessica Robinson reports from central Washington, which has seen some of the worst of the damage.

A fire earlier this afternoon briefly closed the Howard Buford Recreation Area southeast of Eugene. The fire is now fully contained. The north side of the area will remain closed as crews monitor and investigate the blaze. Mount Pisgah and the arboretum are open to visitors.

The Oregon Department of Forestry responded with a helicopter to dump water on the blaze. It burned a little more than an acre.

ODF crews are performing mop-up operations. The area will be monitored throughout the weekend by Lane County Parks staff and volunteers.

Swanson Group

Thursday's catastrophic fire at the Springfield Plywood and Veneer Mill has left 250 employees jobless and owners of the parent company accessing their options. Swanson Group acquired the mill on F Street in Springfield in 2007. It is a total loss. The fire is under investigation. KLCC's Tiffany Eckert spoke to Swanson Group's Chief Operating Officer Chuck Wert as he arrived from company headquarters in Glendale to access the still-smoldering site.  

Angela Kellner

UPDATE: Thursday 10:00 pm 

A fast-moving fire engulfed and destroyed the Springfield Plywood and Veneer mill Thursday. No injuries were reported.

To see a video of the helicopter dropping water on the fire, visit our KLCC Facebook page.

James Thompson

The Moccasin Hill wildfire in south-central Oregon has burned as many as 20 homes and 2,500 acres.

Reporter Devan Schwartz visited the town of Sprague River and spoke with people who lost everything, and those in the community lending a hand.
 

I’m riding in a truck with James Thompson, who co-owns Whistler’s Trading Post. It’s one of Sprague River’s few businesses. He’s taking me to see where the homes have burned.

It smells of singed ponderosa pine, juniper and sagebrush.

Extreme Fire Danger Status In Central Oregon

Jul 12, 2014
http://wildfireoregondeptofforestry.blogspot.com

The Fire status for bend, rural Deschutes county, crook and Jefferson counties have now entered Extreme Fire Danger Status. This weekend is calling for another round of significant lightning. The Oregon Department of Forestry is under regulated closure restrictions and those will remain in place for the duration of fire season. Currently, no backyard, commercial or agricultural burning is allowed within city limits of bend, and rural Deschutes County. Central Oregon residents are asked to contact local, state or federal fire agencies for specific requirements and closures.

North Lincoln Fire & Rescue

One firefighter was injured while battling a blaze that completely destroyed the historic Crab Pot Restaurant in Lincoln City Thursday.

Just before 3 p.m. Thursday, the restaurant called 911 to say their crab pot smoker caught fire and the blaze was spreading to the rest of their shop.

The fire started in the rear of the restaurant. There were explosions that may have been caused by propane tanks.

Marion County Sheriff's Department

The hot weather, along with the cool rivers and ocean, can be a deadly combination in the Northwest.  The near-drowning of a child in Oregon is a good reminder to practice water safety.

On Monday, an 8-year-old boy was swimming in Butte Creek in Scotts Mills Park. Marion County Sheriff Sergeant Chris Baldridge says the older brother and aunt were also in the water.

Central Oregon Fire Info

Hot weather, the potential for thunderstorms, and 4th of July fireworks have Oregon fire officials on edge this week. Crews are poised for possible large fire starts.

Carol Connolly is with the Northwest Fire Coordination Center in Portland. She says thunderstorms are forecast for midweek in central and southern Oregon.

Connolly: "So, hot weather, no rain, with a potential of high winds in those areas-- we're looking at an increased chance of large fire activity based on lightning strikes."

And then there's Independence Day.

Central Oregon Fire Info

A wildfire that burned nearly 7-thousand acres and threatened hundreds of homes west of Bend is now 55 percent contained. Officials suspect the Two Bulls Fire was human caused. A reward for information that leads to a conviction of whoever's responsible is now nearly $2-thousand.

The reward was boosted Wednesday by a contribution from Eric and Robin Coats of Shevlin Sand & Gravel. The City of Bend, Deschutes County Sheriff's office and several businesses and individuals have contributed.

Amanda Preacher / OPB News

A shooting incident at Oregon’s second largest high school Tuesday left two young people dead - a teenaged victim, and the shooter. Police have identified a 14-year-old freshman at Reynolds High School - Emilio Hoffman - as the victim.

Authorities say they have tentatively identified the shooter, but they weren’t confident enough to publicize details late Tuesday.  A teacher also sustained injuries that did not threaten his life.
 

When students first heard the shots at the Reynolds High School gymnasium, they thought they were firecrackers.

Officials Say Fire Near Bend Human Caused

Jun 10, 2014
Central Oregon Fire Info

Updated 6:17pm.

Firefighters had to scramble Tuesday afternoon to extinguish another wildfire on the outskirts of Bend.

Fire spokeswoman Lisa Clark says a lookout on Lava Butte spotted the smoke a near the trailhead of a popular mountain-biking area known as Phil's Trails on the western outskirts of Bend.   Helicopter and engine crews quickly put it out.

John Rosman / OPB

Updated at 2:01pm

Officials say a lone shooter killed one student and injured a teacher at Reynolds High School this morning.  The shooter is also dead.

Troutdale Police Chief Scott Anderson said authorities have tentatively identified the gunman, but aren't ready yet to release the name.

Anderson: "I can tell you that the weapon used was a rifle. one teacher was injured, with non life-threatening injuries. The teacher was treated at the scene."

Central Oregon Fire Info

Fire crews are bracing for more warm, windy weather as they battle a 68-hundred acre blaze in Central Oregon. The Two Bulls Fire west of Bend prompted evacuations over the weekend. About 50 people are still not able to return home. Crews have built a preliminary line around the blaze. Fire Information Officer Lisa Clark says winds up to 20 miles per hour may cause flare-ups. She says weather conditions are more like mid-summer.

Harrisburg Fire Dept.

Voters in Harrisburg are considering a 20-year bond to raise $ 4.2 million for a new fire station. The measure would cost the average home-owner 88 cents per thousand dollars of assessed value annually.
The current fire station was built 50 years ago. The 75-hundred square foot building has only one bathroom and no live-in quarters. Harrisburg Fire Chief John Goucher says there's not enough space for equipment to be stored inside.

Food For Lane County

Food for Lane County in Eugene is installing a generator Monday. The food bank will be the only one in the state with backup power in case of a large-scale disaster.

Food for Lane County stores about a half million pounds of food in its Eugene warehouse -- about half of it is perishable. The generator will prevent massive food loss and spoilage if there's a power outage.

Dawn Marie Woodward is with Food For Lane County:

Ashley Ahearn

The landslide in Oso, Washington served as a devastating reminder of one fact of life in the Northwest: landslides happen.

In some places, it’s a risk people have learned to live with.

Landslides have wiped out the only access road to one rural community along the Skykomish River three times since December. A dozen homes in the Mt. Index River Sites community were destroyed by the slides. Fortunately no one was hurt.

Courtney Flatt

If you get lost hunting or wander off a hiking trail, a select group of volunteers may come to look for you. K-9 search and rescue teams spend countless hours training to make sure they can find you when you’re lost.

German shepherd Kia lifts her nose in the air, sniffs, and takes off. Kia is searching a nature preserve in the middle of Richland, Washington. She’s searching for missing hikers.

Miles of hiking trails wind around sagebrush and brambles. It’s bordered by the Yakima River.

Washington State Patrol

Seattle just wrapped up its wettest March on record.
Geologists say heavy rain in the Cascade Mountains northeast of Seattle was key in triggering the landslide that killed at least 24 people in the town of Oso last week.
But they say clearcutting nearby could also have worsened the risk of the hillside collapsing.

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