Oregon News

Friday, June 14, 2019

Rookie firefighters with the Oregon Department of Forestry got their first taste of fire season

Rookie firefighters with the Oregon Department of Forestry got their first taste of fire season Thursday. A group of 16 first-time firefighters are currently in a two-week training course. They started the course in the classroom and got to take their skills outside Thursday. 18-year-old Central Point native Isaiah Griffith is following in several family members' footsteps. "As a kid I was always pushed toward doing something that was a little less in an office and a little more outdoors, and getting to do something that gives back is a big choice of mine too. My uncles always pushed for getting a good pay check but doing something you love," Griffith said. Griffith said he felt the training prepared him for being on a real fire. "They give you all the tools to succeed, as long as you're there you can do it," Griffith said.

Crews rescue injured Smith Rock hiker

Redmond Fire medics and Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue volunteers came to the aid Thursday evening of an injured hiker at the top of the Misery Ridge Trail at Smith Rock State Park. Crews were called to the popular climbing spot around 6:30 p.m., Redmond Fire Battalion Chief Garrick Terry said. The Redmond firefighter/paramedics hiked to the top of the trail system, reaching the patient and providing care until the arrival of 10 DCSO SAR volunteers. They established a running belay system attached to a stokes basket to bring the patient down the trail, Terry said. The hiker was taken to St. Charles Redmond after the rescue, which took about three hours to complete.

Bend police, fire team up on illegal fireworks crackdown

The city of Bend plans to pair police officers and fire inspectors for an Illegal Fireworks Task Force to respond exclusively to illegal fireworks calls on several nights in late June and early July. The task force will patrol areas where data have shown a higher use of illegal fireworks. “If you’ve had a lot of fireworks in your neighborhood in the past, you can expect to see some patrols this year,” said Fire Department Battalion Chief Dave Howe. The task force, scheduled for the nights of June 27 and 28 and July 3, 5 and 6, will focus on problematic areas identified by data, but also will respond to calls as they are able. The 2019-20 Bend City Council Goals prioritized increasing illegal firework enforcement activities as part of a comprehensive wildfire resilience plan. Last year brought one of the most destructive illegal fireworks incidents in city history, on the slopes of Pilot Butte on July 4, which also prompted evacuation of nearby residents.

Oregon Utility Announces Wildfire Prevention Policies In Wake Of California Tragedies

As Oregon braces for another hot and dry summer, one of its biggest utility companies has announced a new wildfire policy aimed at reducing wildfire risks across their service area. “We want to make sure, going forward, that we’re keeping communities safe during those high-wind and dry conditions,” said Scott Bolton, the senior vice president of external affairs and customer solutions at Pacific Power. The new policies, announced Thursday, include clearing vegetation around power lines and poles, increasing inspections at facilities, training their field crews in wildfire suppression, and installing local weather stations to help identify high fire risk days. They also plan to implement “Public Safety Power Shutoffs” if dangerous weather is expected in high fire risk areas. If the power is cut before the wind blows down lines, there’s less risk of fire. Electricity providers have been under increased scrutiny since a number of wildfires in California were linked to downed power lines during windstorms, improperly maintained power stations, and areas where brush had grown too close to electrical infrastructure.
Oregon Public Broadcasting

Jospehine County: AMR, Mercy Flights end partnership

American Medical Response in Josephine County has ended its partnership with Mercy Flights. That means those who are subscribed to the current program with them, called Paramed, will only be receiving coverage for ground transportation starting in July. According to a Facebook post Wednesday night by Illinois Valley Fire District Chief Dennis Hoke, AMR recently joined REACH Helicopter Airmed Care. By terminating its relationship, customers will no longer receive coverage of emergency air flights to local hospitals. New Paramed customers will only have ground ambulance services. Current subscribers will be covered by ground and air until July 1. After that, if they would like coverage for emergency flights, they will have to separately subscribe to Mercy Flights. “We still serve Josephine County. We have been here for 70 years. We are not going anywhere and we will take care of the community and our members,” Tim Jame, Mercy Flight COO, said.

Man dies in the hospital after Salem house fire

A man has died in the hospital after firefighters pulled him from a burning house in southeast Salem on Friday morning. Reports of a fire came in about 5:15 a.m. at a home in the 4300 block of Munkers Street. A second alarm was later called as crews worked to fight the flames. Firefighters went into the home and found Timothy Allen, 45, of Salem. They started CPR before he was transported to a Salem-area hospital and later pronounced dead. Officials with Salem Fire believe the man was the only person inside the house at the time, however, they are still investigating. Officials have not determined a cause of the fire.
KATU 2 Portland

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty appoints Portland’s first African American fire chief

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty has appointed Sara Boone as Portland’s fire chief, bringing Boone full circle from becoming the city’s first African American woman firefighter in 1995 to its first African American chief. Boone was selected because she impressed an interview panel with “her commitment to community, her technical knowledge, her passion for the fire service and her leadership style,” said Hardesty, the Fire Bureau commissioner, who in January became Portland’s first African American city councilor. Hardesty said she is confident Boone “will make sure our city is safe and cared for under her watch.” “I am deeply honored to be the next fire chief of Portland Fire & Rescue, a bureau I hold in high esteem because of the men and women who serve with honor, integrity, and sacrifice.” Boone said in a statement.
Portland Oregonian, Hillsboro Argus, Oregon Live.com

Medford’s Fire Chief Brian Fish announces retirement

Medford Fire-Rescue Chief Brian Fish has announced his retirement after more than 30 years of service. He will step down on December 1, 2019. Chief Fish has served as Medford’s fire chief since 2014. He began his career in 1989 as a firefighter. “For the public, you’ve invited me into your homes and your lives in some of your worst moments, when you were hurt and afraid… I don’t take that privilege lightly,” Chief Fish said. Under his leadership, the department built three new fire stations, improved safety practices for fire personnel — including the establishment of a cancer prevention program, and strengthened relationships with community organizations as well as neighboring fire departments, according to the City of Medford. He said he’s looking forward to traveling and spending time with family. “Chief Fish has served the City of Medford for the past 30 years with a high level of professionalism and integrity. We are fortunate to have Chief assist in the selection of his successor. His retirement is much deserved and he will be greatly missed,” said City Manager Brian Sjothun.
KOBI 5 News

Senators Merkley, Wyden introduce 4 bills to aid smoke-hit communities

Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., introduced four bills Wednesday to have the federal government help the public, businesses and agricultural operations combat the effects of wildfire smoke and recover from the damage it causes. They are called the Smoke-Ready Communities Act, the Wildfire Smoke Emergency Declaration Act, the Farmworker Smoke Protection Act, and the Smoke Planning and Research Act. “Last August in the Rogue Valley, I looked up at a sun that was neon pink through the thick haze of smoke from wildfires,” Merkley said. “Business owners and organizations told me how the smoke caused lost reservations, canceled shows, and even irreparable damage at a furniture store after the fabrics absorbed the smoke smell. "Folks told me about respiratory problems even indoors, because HVAC systems weren’t equipped to handle the level of pollution they were experiencing. And communities all over the state experienced these impacts."

Rapid rescue training on the Rogue River

It’s day three of a five-day river rescue operation conducted on the Rogue River. 11 different law enforcement and fire rescue agencies from Clackamas to Klamath counties combine for 24 instructors and 18 students on the training program. Today’s training took them from the fish hatchery down to Dodge Bridge off of Highway 62 near Shady Cove. Tomorrow, it will take them all the way to Grants Pass. Marine Law Enforcement Training Coordinator Eddie Persichetti said the training would take them all the way to Argo for a total of 45 river miles over the 5 days. “And most everything from Class 1 to, probably Class 3 (rapids) once we get down to Argo,” Persichetti said. It’s day three of a five-day river rescue operation conducted on the Rogue River. 11 different law enforcement and fire rescue agencies from Clackamas to Klamath counties combine for 24 instructors and 18 students on the training program.
KTVL-TV Channel 10

Log truck crash blocks Highway 22W in Polk County; driver taken to hospital

A log truck crash blocked traffic on Highway 22W in Polk County on Wednesday. Dallas Fire & EMS responded to the scene between Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge and the Highway 99 interchange at around 11:30 a.m. Investigators said the truck was heading east on Highway 22W when it rolled over, causing the load of logs to spill out. The driver was removed from the truck by firefighters and taken to the hospital. Firefighters said the driver’s injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. The cause of the crash is under investigation. Lengthy delays were in place for both directions of the highway while crews worked to clear the scene.
KPTV-TV Fox 12 Beaverton

Medford grass fire contained with help from neighbors

A fire sparked in a front yard during the peak of the heat Wednesday. The neighborhood sprang into action, stopping what could have quickly become a disaster. “I was driving down the road and I looked out and saw a little plume of smoke and by the time I could park my car two houses down it had just engulfed in the trees,” Resident, Julie Fort said. Firefighters weren’t the only first responders to a small grass fire Wednesday afternoon on Corona Avenue in Medford. “I ran over to a house, grabbed hoses, other neighbors grabbed hoses we connected them all,” Fort said. With help from neighbors and a quick response from fire crews, the fire was contained before any homes were damaged. “Between three other residents and myself, shovels, hoses, we did what we could till the fire department got here very quickly,” she said. Although the cause isn’t known yet, with hot temperatures and grass drying out authorities say you should be extra careful during the summer months.

Sign up to subscribe to custom state Daily Dispatch emails for free

click to subscribe