News Stories for Fri., Aug. 11, 2017

Northwest Team 12 – a Type 2 Incident Management Team got to Warm Springs at noon yesterday and have assumed command of the fire this morning.  A fire hotline is being established at 541-460-7525. The Nena Springs Fire started Tuesday afternoon near the north end of the Warm Springs Reservation near Wapanitia. It moved onto the reservation and has grew yesterday to more than 23,000 acres reaching from the reservation boundary, across Schoolie Flat.  There have been structures lost. Last Night there were 114 firefighters on the fire line with more resources expected today. The fire is being driven through mostly grass by gusting winds.  Some rain accompanied lightning yesterday afternoon into the evening but with that were gusty erratic winds and lighting strikes.About 40 homes are on a level 3 evacuation notice.  Everyone on the reservation should pay attention to the fires movement and consider what you would do if you need to evacuate. Fire Managers say focus remains on keeping the fire out of the Eagle Creek canyon. Tents went up last night in the field adjacent to the new Fire Management Building which is where command is set up.  Catering is not expected to arrive until Monday – so local resources will be tapped to feed the fire crews.

There were about 50 lightning strikes last night on the Reservation with a couple starts that are being monitored.  Although there was heavy rain in some locations yesterday – its expected that any benefit that brought will evaporate by noon time today.

A Red Cross evacuation center is in place at the Warm Springs Community Center.  Just a few people spent the night last night but the Red Cross wants folks to know if they have been affected by the Nena Springs Fire, they can check in at the center.

This morning’s fire map is available on the KWSO website.

Senator Ron Wyden held a town hall in Warm Springs for the first time yesterday, at the K-8 Academy. Wyden addressed issues ranging from health care to the reservation’s economy. It was well-attended and Senator Wyden stated this would not be his last town hall meeting in Warm Springs. Wyden stopped by the Community Center after the meeting, where the Red Cross Evacuation Center is set up.

Before coming to Warm Springs for the town hall meeting, Senator Wyden met with Central Oregon fire officials.  As the senator was told at a wildfire briefing in Redmond on Thursday, Central Oregon is facing a lot of the same problems that other areas of the state are encountering, KTVZ reports. Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center officials told Wyden they have responded to 41 lightning-caused fires and 125 human-caused fires so far this season. Wyden said his goal is to be able to provide funding so that there are enough resources to fight fires across the region.

Top federal and state fire managers say the National Fire Preparedness Level will be raised to its highest point Friday afternoon. The National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group made the announcement Thursday, saying the jump to Preparedness Level 5 reflects a high degree of wildfire activity and that further assistance from the military and international resources may be considered and requested. The group says wildfire activity has escalated in recent days after thunderstorms, many with little or no moisture, moved across parts of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana, sparking hundreds of new fires. To date, 40,845 wildfires have burned over 6 million acres in the United States this year, which is below the ten-year average for number of fires but above the ten-year average for acres burned. The last time the National Preparedness Level was raised to 5 was on August 13, 2015.