Oregon News

Friday, May 20, 2022

Lebanon firefighters quell rural blaze

PHOTOS: At about 2 a.m. this morning firefighters responded to a structure fire in a rural area near Lebanon. The Lebanon Fire District says that when the first unit arrived to the fire the structure -- a two-story workshop -- was already completely engulfed in flames. Due to the remote location, a water supply was not immediately available, firefighters said. Because of this and the severity of the fire, crews focused on containing the blaze until a water supply was established, officials said. Trucks brought water to the site of the fire, and crews set up portable tanks to hold the water supply. Once the main body of the fire was extinguished, officials report that a special nozzle was used to pierce the wall of the building and extinguish the interior due to the risk of structural collapse.
KEZI-TV ABC 9 Eugene

Public safety agencies practice in simulated aircraft emergency in Medford

VIDEO/PHOTOS: In the case of an emergency at the airport, our local emergency personnel are ready. Wednesday, May 18, local fire, law enforcement and emergency personnel simulated an aircraft emergency at the Rogue Valley International Airport. Once every three years, public safety agencies (fire, law enforcement and emergency) coordinate with Rogue Valley International Airport to simulate an airplane emergency with people pretending to be injured passengers. Real fire, aircraft and people were used, but the fire was contained and no one was actually injured. The simulation worked as practice for fire, law enforcement and other emergency personnel to work together and ensure that their plans work as effectively as possible in case of an actual emergency. “It’s the who’s who in public safety that is involved in an event like this,” said Bob Horton, fire chief for Jackson County Fire District #3.
KTVL-TV CBS 10 Medford

Tillamook Fire District recognized volunteers and staff at awards banquet

Tillamook Fire District and Tillamook Volunteer Firefighters’ Association met and honored several members of department for distinguished service and some incredible milestone service awards. First and foremost, Firefighter Thomas “Tommy” Miller has achieved an astounding 60 years of service with the district in several capacities. He started serving when he was 17 years old in 1962. Then transitioned to a full time firefighter from years 1969 till retiring in 1994 and back to dedicated volunteer, where he is still currently serving his community today. He is the longest serving member in the departments’ 133 years of service that has been recorded in the history of the department since 1889. Other milestone years of service that were recognized were: Captain Daryl Hamilton as 20 years of service and as an association life member Firefighter John Welch with 10 years of service.
The Tillamook Herald

Eugene-Springfield Fire Department tuning up firefighting skills ahead of fire season

VIDEO: Firefighters with the Eugene-Springfield Fire Department spent Wednesday morning tuning up their wildland firefighting skills ahead of what experts predict will be an "average" fire season across Western Oregon. Dozens of firefighters from multiple agencies gathered in Springfield's Thurston Hills Natural Area for a training session at about 9 a.m. The Oregon Department of Forestry, McKenzie Fire & Rescue, and Pleasant Hill Goshen Fire & Rescue also participated in the training. As part of the training, fire crews identified challenges that come with fighting fires in difficult areas, like the Thurston Hills. According to officials, some of those challenges include getting to these high threat areas and accessing water supply. The Thurston Hills also butt up against a neighborhood, so officials say it's essential to be knowledgeable about the area so they can put fire out as quickly as possible.
KEZI-TV ABC 9 Eugene

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Rural fire departments win big in 2022 primary

Voters showed overwhelming support for measures that provided funding to various rural fire departments in the primary elections last night. Measures for four rural fire departments were on the ballot for the May primary, and each of those measures passed with decisive majorities of votes in favor. One fire department up for funding was the Coburg Rural Fire Protection District. The measure to renew the option tax for its operations passed with a commanding 87% of voters saying yes. The figure came as a surprise to Coburg RFPD’s fire chief Chad Minter, who expressed thanks for the overwhelming support from the community. “I think over the last two years between fire season and the pandemic, especially in volunteer agencies like ours, people understand that we need to keep funding up, and make sure the volunteers are still wanting to volunteer,” Minter said. According to Minter the Coburg fire department, like most rural fire departments, is mostly staffed by volunteers.
KEZI-TV ABC 9 Eugene

Follow-Up: Oregon adopts public safety power shutoff rules for utilities

The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) recently approved permanent rules for investor-owned electric utilities, including Portland General Electric, PacifiCorp and Idaho Power, regarding public safety power shutoffs (PSPSs). Temporary rules were implemented for the 2021 wildfire season while the PUC, utilities, public safety partners, and communities worked to finalize permanent rules. This is a timely decision as May is National Wildfire Awareness Month and wildfire season quickly approaches. A PSPS is an important safety measure designed to help protect people and communities in high fire-risk areas by proactively shutting off electricity during extreme and dangerous weather conditions. De-energizing power lines through a PSPS is a wildfire risk mitigation strategy of last resort because of the significant impacts the loss of power can have on communities and the extensive planning and communication that are needed to effectively implement them.
Curry Coastal Pilot

AirLink helicopter crashes while landing at Christmas Valley Airport; 4 crew members seriously injured

An AirLink helicopter on a flight from Bend crashed Wednesday evening while landing at the Christmas Valley Airport to pick up a patient to transport, seriously injuring all four crew members aboard, the FAA and Lake County Sheriff’s Office confirmed. The crash occurred around 5:24 p.m., according to Deputy and Emergency Services Manager Daniel Tague. No fatalities are reported at this time, he added. The FAA indicated in its initial report Thursday that the 3-year-old helicopter "crashed under unknown circumstances (while) attempting to land and became inverted." It said one member of the flight crew and three cabin crew members were seriously injured. Tague said La Pine and Crescent fire agencies dispatched ambulances to transport patients to Bend.
KTVZ NBC/CW+ 21 Bend

Update: Voters reject Gearhart firehouse bond measure

Voters rejected a $14.5 million bond measure for a new firehouse on Tuesday, a stinging message to city leaders who had argued that the project was critical to replace the aging fire station on Pacific Way. Measure 4-213 was failing 66% to 34%. The new firehouse, at 13,000 square feet, would have been off Highlands Lane along U.S. Highway 101. Jack Zimmerman, a critic of the project whose unsuccessful legal challenge kept the bond measure off last November's ballot, said city leaders ignored questions and concerns from residents. “Gearhart will build a new fire station when they know their money will be well spent, and not wasted on something that they do not want, need or understand,” he said. “The taxpayers who will have to tighten their belts to fund this project in this shaky economy deserve consideration, transparency and respect.”
Seaside Signal

Oregon officials are bracing for a challenging wildfire season

Two months of heavy spring rain has pushed back the start of Oregon’s wildfire season, but when the weather pendulum finally swings back to warm and dry, the state will still be in for an extremely challenging summer. That was the takeaway at a press conference Monday morning hosted by Governor Kate Brown. Brown said her office has already declared drought emergencies in 15 Oregon counties, a higher total for this point in the year than in any prior year while she’s been governor. “We are seeing conditions in place that indicate another challenging fire season ahead,” she said. “While many of us have experienced a lot of rain recently, in many parts of the state we’re already seeing megadrought.”
KOBI-TV NBC 5 Medford

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