KWSO News for Thu., Aug. 20, 2020

A new team is transitioning in today to coordinate wildland fire response for 3 fires burning on the Warm Springs Reservation.  The largest fire is the P-515 Fire near North Butte.  It is burning in steep terrain, brushy areas and dense timbered areas. The Lion’s Head fire is burning in thick brush and steep slopes. And crews continue to work on containment of the Quartz Butte fire.

The Green Ridge Fire is 1,013 acres burning on the Deschutes National Forest and private land protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. A Type 2 Incident Management Team has taken command of the fire and the Deschutes and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Offices issued a joint notice for evacuation levels for Camp Sherman.

The Laurel Fire is at 1000 acres – burning on private land and Prineville District Bureau of Land Management (BLM)  managed land approximately 7 miles northwest of Kimberly.

The Frog Fire in the Maury Mountains on the Ochoco National Forest east of Prineville is now estimated to be 530 acres with no containment.

The Hog Ridge Fire 18 miles northwest of Dayville and north of Highway 26 near milepost 90 is estimated at 350 acres.

The Mt Hood National Forest has ordered a Type 2 Incident Management Team to take over management of the White River fire. Over the next two days the current Type 3 team will transition with the incoming team. The fairgrounds in Tygh Valley will be the Incident Command Post.  The Fire is estimated to be 450 acres.

Yesterday’s Warm Springs Covid-19 report included all data available through Tuesday August 18th:

  • There were 5 additional cases of Covid-19 reported on Tuesday
  • 281 Total Number of Positive cases of Covid-19
    • 240 tests conducted at the Health & Wellness Center
    • 41 affiliated patients tested elsewhere
  • 32 # of Active Cases
  • 36 # of Close Contacts being monitored by Public Health
  • 2471 Total Number of Tests Conducted at the Health & Wellness Center
  • 28 people have been hospitalized
  • 20 have been discharged from the hospital
  • There have been 6 deaths due to Covid-19

The Oregon Health Authority shared COUNTY DATA on Tuesday that includes the number of cases by county and the Percent of Test Positivity.  The immediate goal is to see that percentage fall below 10% and then decrease to 0%. Jefferson County was at 19% for the week beginning 8/16/20. Jefferson County also has one of the highest rates of testing in Oregon.

The Warm Springs Tribal Council members and others in the Chambers Monday were ordered to be quarantined for 14 days starting this last Monday, August 17, 2020. Tribal Council and management will adjust to carry on business as needed by phone or through computer video.

Oregonians facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for a one-time payment of $500. This first-of-its-kind project is a collaboration between the Oregon Legislature, Oregon Department of Administrative Services, and several Oregon credit unions and banks. There are more than 150 locations in all regions of the state where eligible Oregonians will be able to receive relief checks. To be eligible, a person must: • Be a current resident of Oregon and 18 years or older. • Be able to prove their identity and that they are an in-state resident. • Attest that they are experiencing severe financial hardship directly or indirectly due to the Governor’s Stay Home, Save Lives executive orders. • Have earned $4,000/month or less pre-tax prior to their income loss due to COVID-19. • Not have received all unemployment payments they are owed. Oregonians who think they may qualify should go to It will direct them to the nearest participating credit union or bank’s website. There they can follow the instructions on how to apply at that location and complete their application. Each applicant must adhere to public health protocols when applying in-person.

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has declared a state of emergency because of what she called the imminent threat of wildfire across state. She says much of the state is now in extreme fire danger, and red flag warnings have been issued for hot, dry, windy conditions and dry thunderstorms. The governor’s declaration authorizes the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Oregon Office of the State Fire Marshal, in coordination with the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, to receive help from other state agencies. Brown said the Oregon National Guard also will deploy firefighting resources as needed throughout the remainder of the fire season. The Warm Springs Reservation currently has three fires burning and there are several others in Central Oregon.

This week the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service will send interest payments to about 13.9 million individual taxpayers who timely filed their 2019 federal income tax returns and are receiving refunds. The interest payments, averaging about $18, will be made to individual taxpayers who filed a 2019 return by this year’s July 15 deadline and either received a refund in the past three months or will receive a refund. Most interest payments will be issued separately from tax refunds.

Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, along with 17 of their Senate colleagues, are urging the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Census Bureau to honor their previously announced 2020 census completion date to ensure an accurate count for Indian Country and the Native Hawaiian community. In April, the Commerce Department and Census Bureau announced a modified timeline for 2020 census operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which extended the deadline for field data collection to October 31, 2020. But in August, the Bureau indicated instead that it will cease all collection by September 30, 2020. Census response rates have been and remain low in tribal communities in part because tribal governments have taken necessary measures to keep their communities safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, as tribal communities have experienced some of the highest mortality rates in the nation from the virus. The Bureau’s newly accelerated timeline threatens to result in another severe undercount of American Indians, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities.