Oregon News

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

New Medford ordinance allows city to charge people for reckless burns

The Medford city council passed a new ordinance last Thursday, making it possible for the city to charge people for reckless grass fires. City attorney Eric Mitton said there is already a state law that allows counties to prosecute for reckless burns. Under that law, people can only be charged if the fire causes property damage. However, Medford’s ordinance will also allow someone to be charged for any vegetation fire in public areas, whether it causes property damage or not. Mitton said the new ordinance could bring some relief to the Jackson County District Attorney’s office. “They’ve got a very full case load right now,” Mitton said. “And a lot of time with reckless burning, it’s something more in a livability context with other low level misdemeanors. And so we felt it would make sense to also have the option to prosecute it through the municipal court.”
KOBI-TV NBC 5 Medford

VIDEO: ‘Fighting Fires Together’ campaign working to support Oregon’s wildland firefighters

An initiative to help Oregon’s wildland firefighters and their families is entering its second year. “Fighting Fires Together” is a campaign providing support and mental health resources for the people who risk their lives to protect our forests and communities. AM Extra was joined by Jeff Dill, founder and CEO of the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance, to talk about the impacts of wildfire season.
KOIN-TV NBC 6 Portland

Northwest fire management scaled back, but objectives remain for Smith River Complex North

Northwest Incident Management Team 8 will be turning over management of the fire to a smaller incident management organization, referred to as a Type 3 Team, on Wednesday September 27, 2023. Objectives for the fire remain the same, although management organization will be reduced, firefighters will continue working toward their completion. Nearly 2.5 inches of rain fell across the area Monday and Tuesday morning, and fire managers determined that the roads and ground conditions were not capable of holding up to the heavy equipment use needed to finish the secondary containment line northwest of the fire, and to conduct other suppression repairs. Flood warnings and a wind advisory remained in effect. Fire personnel were directed to stand down until conditions out on the ground improved.
KVAL-TV CBS 13 Eugene

Willamette National Forest to rescind restrictions, reduce fire danger level

Due to recent rainfall and cooler temperatures, the Willamette National Forest will rescind public use restrictions, lower the fire danger level to “low”, and reduce the Industrial Fire Precaution Level to IFPL I on Sept. 27, 2023. Campfires will once again be allowed outside of campgrounds, and restrictions on chainsaws, off-highway vehicles, and smoking will be lifted. However, even with the reduced fire risk, it is still important to never leave a campfire unattended and completely extinguish it so it’s cold to the touch. The cancellation of public use restrictions, also known as fire restrictions, applies to all lands within the Willamette National Forest, including the Three Sisters, Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington, Waldo Lake, and Diamond Peak Wilderness areas.
KVAL-TV CBS 13 Eugene

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Search for serial arsonist in Portland ends with discovery of suspect’s body

VIDEO: The man suspected of setting a string of fires in Portland last Wednesday has been found dead, according to an update from Portland Fire & Rescue. Police and fire investigators were looking for the man responsible for 11 fires in the Kerns, Buckman, Hosford-Abernethy and Brooklyn neighborhoods, apparently set between the hours of 3 and 7 a.m. on Sept. 20. Investigators said that they were looking at a serial arsonist, a man seen in several surveillance videos during the spree. The fires started near Northeast 28th Avenue and Sandy Boulevard, according to a news release from PF&R. From there, the arsonist apparently moved in a southwest and then southerly direction, setting off more fires in the Kerns, Buckman, Hosford-Abernethy and Brooklyn neighborhoods, with the final fire occurring just after 7 a.m. in Hosford-Abernethy.
KGW-TV NBC 8 Portland

Update: Salem withdraws appeal over firefighter’s job-related death

The City of Salem will withdraw its appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court regarding benefits to the family of longtime firefighter Mo Stadeli, who died in 2019 from job-related cancer. The move comes after hundreds of firefighters and community members rallied outside city hall Monday evening. “I’m very sorry for all the harm we’ve caused to Mo’s spouse,” said Salem Mayor Chris Hoy. City Manager Keith Stahley made the announcement at a meeting Monday night, a decision met by applause from those in attendance. “After receiving further input from city council earlier this evening, I have directed City Attorney Dan Atchison to withdraw the petition to the Oregon Supreme Court to review the decision,” he said. After serving the City of Salem for 28 years, Firefighter Maurice “Mo” Stadeli, was diagnosed with tonsillar cancer in 2018 and died in 2019.
KOIN-TV NBC 6 Portland

New levy would help Cannon Beach Rural Fire Protection District

The Cannon Beach Rural Fire Protection District will ask voters to approve a new tax levy in November. The five-year levy, which would replace two existing levies, would help continue to fund administrative staff and add three paid firefighters. The fire district, which serves Cannon Beach, Arch Cape, Cove Beach and Falcon Cove, has one of the lowest permanent tax rates in the county at 35 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. The permanent tax rate is set when a district is established, which leaves fire districts dependent on voters to approve levies and bonds to keep up with increasing demand for service. If approved by voters, the levy would cost $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value, in addition to the permanent tax rate, for a total of $1.85 per $1,000.
The Daily Astorian

Progress made in battling Oregon wildfires: Bedrock, Lookout, and Petes Lake fires now more than 50% contained

The Lookout Fire is currently 50% contained and is 25,751 acres in size. It was lightning caused on August 5, 2023. The Bedrock Fire started on July 22, 2023 and is currently 31,590 acres in size, and 98% contained. The cause is under investigation. On August 25, 2023 the Petes Lake Fire started by lightning and is 3,254 acres in size and 50% contained. The Horse Creek and Pothole fires started in late August and have burned 763 acres and 109 acres. Both were lightning caused and both are 100% contained. Evacuations for the Bedrock, Lookout, Horse Creek, Pothole, and Petes Lake Fires have been lifted. There are no evacuations notices in place within Lane, Linn, or Deschutes Counties for these fires currently.
KVAL-TV CBS 13 Eugene

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