News Stories for Wed., Oct. 11, 2017

Oregonians in southern and central parts of the state saw air conditions degrade significantly Tuesday. Smoke from several fires burning in northern California has been pushed by southerly winds into the Klamath River basin and parts of central Oregon, according to health officials. Many Oregonians have endured an extended summer season of bad air quality as major fires in the state — including the Chetco Bar and Eagle Creek fires — have left air in the region hazy for weeks on end. Multiple fires that broke out in northern California’s wine country Sunday have devastated the region in a matter of days.

“This is just pure devastation.” That’s how Ken Pimlott, chief of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection describes the damage caused by wildfires that raced through the wine country of Napa and Sonoma counties and the coastal beauty of Mendocino farther north. In some torched neighborhoods, fire hydrants still have hoses attached, apparently abandoned by firefighters who had to flee for their lives. Authorities say the risk remains “extreme for new starts” as some 17 major wildfires burn north of San Francisco. Fire officials say they’re looking into what started those fires, but it could have been just about anything, such as a discarded cigarette or a chainsaw’s pull. The major blazes are spread over a 200-mile region and none has been contained. They’ve left at least 17 people dead.

Sports…Madras Girls’ Soccer was defeated at home yesterday, falling 1-0 to Estacada.  Madras boys soccer dominated Estacada 10-0. The White Buffs are ranked No. 6 for class 4A in the state. And, the White Buffaloes lost 3-0 in a Tri-Valley Conference match with Corbett.

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden asked the Department of Justice on Tuesday how often it spies on journalists as part of leak investigations, following Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ vow to crack down on leaks to reporters.  “Journalists play a critical role in our democracy and the chill associated with the government obtaining their communications records in order to identify their sources cannot be overstated,” Wyden wrote in a letter to Sessions. Wyden urged Sessions to require search warrants to obtain reporters’ phone and email records to guard against unnecessary spying on journalists.