Fire officials expect a fast-moving wildfire east of the Dalles to grow today (7/18/18) due to dangerous fire conditions in the area. The Substation Fire is burning more than twenty nine thousand acres. Additional level 3 “go now” evacuation orders have been issued for areas of Wasco County that include Shearer’s Falls to Macks Canyon. Lieutenant Damon Simmons with the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office says one structure has burned so far but more are expected. The Wasco County Sheriff’s Office reported high winds near the Wasco County auction yard, last night, carrying the blaze as it ignited nearby grasslands and wheat fields. It started just south of the Celilo Converter Station on Highway 197 before it headed east and jumped the Deschutes River. Red Cross opened a shelter at The Dalles Middle School. Other shelters have opened their doors to house animals and large livestock. Dry conditions with wind gusts of up to 24 miles per hour are expected today in the area of the Substation Fire.
In Warm Springs and Central Oregon – we are in Red Flag weather warning until tonight with temperatures in the 90s and gusty winds developing this afternoon. Clear skies tonight with a low of 55. Sunshine in the forecast the rest of the week with highs in the 90s
Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden led an unusual Senate floor protest yesterday (7/17/18) over the Republican Party’s approach to federal judges. They spent 3 hours objecting to the nomination of Ryan Bounds to serve on the influential 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Senate has traditionally not proceeded with judicial nominations without the support of a potential judge’s home state senators. Yet Senate Republicans have pushed ahead with Bounds’ nomination despite Wyden and Merkley’s concerns. He is expected to be confirmed as soon as today. The Oregon senators say they weren’t adequately consulted about the Bounds nomination. They have raised questions about inflammatory writing Bounds did while in college at Stanford University. He is now a federal prosecutor in Oregon.
Oregon’s unemployment rate has fallen to an even 4 percent. The state Employment Department says strong hiring occurred in a number of industries in June, including construction, health care, and leisure and hospitality. The laggard sector was retail. It shed 1,000 jobs.