Oregon News

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Zeilman to retire as Jefferson fire chief

The most common type of emergencies around here are medical issues, but through the years, Jon Zeilman has rescued swimmers from rivers, helped motorists injured on Interstate 5 and saved people and even a bunny from raging fires. And he really has responded to 9-1-1 calls about cats in trees. Firefighters still do that sort of thing in small towns. After 27-plus years with the Jefferson Fire District — the last seven as chief — Zeilman is retiring. His last day will be June 30, and a reception will be held at the main fire station from 3 to 5 p.m. He said that the best part of his job is helping people, sometimes when they're grieving for a loved one.
Albany Democrat-Herald

Firefighters stop SE Prineville blaze, spare homes

Crook County firefighters stopped a wind-fanned grass fire on a southeast Prineville hill that threatened several homes Wednesday evening, an official said. Crook County Fire and Rescue was dispatched shortly before 5 p.m. to the fire on a hill behind Southeast Willowdale Drive, said Fire Chief Matt Smith, Engine crews arrived to find the flames being pushed by the wind and threatening several homes, Smith said. Four Crook County engine crews and a water tender, along with Oregon Department of Forestry and Forest Service resources, were able to hold the fire to seven acres, with no structures lost and no injuries reported.
KTVZ-TV NewsChannel 21

Fire destroys Bend homes, sends flames 80 feet high

A huge evening fire Wednesday in Bend burned two houses and six mobile homes as it shot flames 80 feet into the air. No one was injured in the blaze, which was reported about 6:41 p.m. The fire is believed to have started in the garage of a home at 355 SE Miller Ave. and spread to an adjacent trailer park. Bend Fire Department Battalion Chief Dave Howe called it a “horror scene” as within minutes neighbors reported the towering flames and three explosions.
Bend Bulletin

Deadly crash sparks large grass fire near Madras

A driver died Wednesday when he drove his car off Highway 26. The car struck a tree and erupted in flames, according to Oregon State Police. The crash happened between Madras and Prineville at about 5 p.m. In addition to the driver, a woman and three children were inside the car. Police said another driver stopped and was able to get the woman and children out of the car, but the man died at the scene. By the time firefighters arrived, the car was engulfed in flames.
KATU-TV ABC 2 Portland

Debris burning sparks two grass fires in Douglas County

Firefighters from the Douglas Forest Protective Association and Douglas County Fire District #2 responded to two grass fires Wednesday afternoon. Firefighters arrived on scene of the Valley Road Fire approximately 7 miles west of Roseburg around 2:45 p.m. Firefighters were able to stop the spread at ¼ acre of grass, officials said. Around 3:25 p.m., fire crews responded to a second fire on Clearview Drive, located about 4 miles northwest of Roseburg. Firefighters were able to stop that fire at ¼ acre as well.

Wildfire grows to 10,000 acres near John Day River

Nearly 100 firefighters were working Wednesday to contain a new wildfire on rangeland near the John Day River that grew to an estimated 10,000 acres on steep slopes in afternoon winds, officials said. Crews were called to the Rhoades Canyon Fire, east of Clarno, after it was reported just before noon Tuesday south of state Highway 218 a mile east of the John Day River. Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Lisa Clark said the fire grew quickly to the south due to light, dried-out grass, steep slopes and wind. Authorities were investigating the cause of the fire, which was 30 percent contained by late Wednesday.
KTVZ-TV NewsChannel 21

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Jackson County Fire District 3 practicing live fire drills despite less dry vegetation

Jackson County Fire District 3 is fighting a live fire in the Denman Wildland Area this week. They do the training every year, but this year it has been more difficult to find dry vegetation. "It's such a double edged sword," said Ashley Blakely of the lack of dry vegetation. "It's often difficult to predict how the weather is going to be. We've had some really hot days accompanied by some three or four days since of rain and cooler weather." Blakely says, the training benefits both the firefighters and the Denman Wildland Area.
KTVL-TV Channel 10

Forestry officials fretful of flammable cheatgrass outbreak, could increase wildfires

Federal and county forestry officials are concerned that this year's large outbreak of the invasive cheatgrass could lead to increased wildfires. Deschutes County Forester Ed Keith says a wet winter and spring has led to taller, thicker patches of the grass. Cheatgrass is common throughout the Western U.S. It dries out and becomes very flammable around summer after sprouting anew starting in December. The Bend Bulletin reports that the grass tends to grow along roadways, which in 2015 sparked a 105-square-mile (272-square-kilometer) wildfire when a vehicle struck the grass.
KATU-TV ABC 2 Portland

Man accused of starting fires in Ashland dies

An Oregon man accused of starting a fire in 2010 that destroyed 11 homes and led to the death of a firefighter has died. The Mail Tribune reports Ashland Fire & Rescue were conducting a welfare check on Sunday when they found 47-year-old John Thiry, who appeared to be very sick. Thiry was taken to a hospital, where he died. Additional details on the cause of his death were not immediately available. Thiry was charged with 24 counts of reckless endangerment and reckless burning in 2010, accused of starting a large fire after he flicked a lit cigarette into dried weeds and grass.

Seven years after Albany arson fire, Legion Post 10 gets a check

Kat Sanderson-Cox was opening the mail at the American Legion Post 10 as she does regularly, as the post’s finance officer. But one check caught her attention and not because it was unusually large. In fact, it was for only $8.20. What makes the check so special is that it is the first restitution payment made by Trent Allen Fox, who on the 4th of July, 2010, set a fire that destroyed the post’s former building at 1215 Pacific Blvd. The fire caused more than $1.57 million in damage and for a while, it seemed, caused the post to teeter on the verge of closure. In 2011 Fox was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay $1.5 million in restitution. “We have thought about framing the check, but decided we will make a color copy and get the satisfaction of cashing it,” Sanderson-Cox said.
Albany Democrat-Herald

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