News Stories for Thu., Aug. 3, 2017

Crews have begun to tear down the 107-year-old Cline Falls Dam on the Deschutes River. The wood and concrete dam is owned by Central Oregon Irrigation District and became nonoperational after its 100-year lease expired in 2010. The dam was built in 1910 to provide water and energy to a proposed community in central Oregon that never came to fruition and later generated hydroelectric power for the Redmond Airport, used by the federal government during World War II, The Bulletin. After the dam is removed, redband, bull and brown trout and other fish species that swim through will be able to get to the downriver more freely, said Scott Wright, River Design Group project manager who worked with the district and Upper Deschutes Watershed, a nonprofit, to design the removal project.  The Mirror Pond dam will stay in place and will be the only barrier to safe fish passage between Wickiup Falls and Lake Billy Chinook, according to District Manager Craig Horrell.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has declared a state of emergency in response to wildfire activity throughout the state. Brown said in a news release Wednesday that the emergency declaration will ensure that state agencies have the needed resources to minimize the impact of wildfires. The wildfires and record-setting heat have created hazy skies for much of the state and warnings of poor air quality and their health impacts. The Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center says smoke is drifting into Central Oregon from the Whitewater Fire and from several large wildfires burning in British Columbia.

The Whitewater Fire burning in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area was last reported at 1800 acres and containment down to 5 percent. The heat, low humidity and winds caused the blaze to grow, crossing the Jefferson Wilderness boundary near the Whitewater Trail.

Fire crews responded to a new fire burning off Highway 20 between Bend and Burns. The Cinder Butte fire was reported yesterday afternoon on the boundary between the Prineville and Burns BLM districts, about 16 miles east of Hampton, OR. The wind-driven fire grew quickly to over 10,000 acres.

A final community meeting for updates on the 2017 Solar Eclipse events in Warm Springs has been scheduled for next week. On Thursday, August 10, the meeting will start at 5:30 pm at the Community Center Social Hall. They will cover permitted events, public safety efforts underway, traffic control and street closures planned, bus service during the weekend to local and Madras events, vendor opportunities, eclipse viewing safety and when and where to get the eclipse viewing glasses.