KWSO News for Fri., Sep. 11, 2020

Here is the audio of this morning’s Lionshead Fire Daily Update from Pacific Northwest Team 3 Incident Commander Noel Livingston:

Smoke and ash are definitely in the air this morning so anyone with respiratory issues should avoid time outside. Several days of hazardous smoke conditions are in the forecast, and we want people to be as safe as possible.  Here are a few things to consider during a wildfire smoke event—and balancing it with a pandemic: Reduce outdoor air flow: Shut down outside air intakes and adjust your air conditioning to use recirculated air. While the precaution for COVID-19 is to increase outdoor air flow, that should not be the case when the outdoor air quality is considered hazardous. Change your HVAC filters: Consider also using a HEPA-rated room air filtration unit. Keep windows and doors closed. Consider postponing any outdoor activities. Reduce other pollutants: Cut down on other sources of air pollutants, like vacuuming and cooking indoors, or smoking and burning fuel outdoors.

In addition to an increase of traffic on Highway 26 for the weekend there are clearly more RVs and horse trailers coming over Mt. Hood with Clackamas County Evacuees coming to Central Oregon.  If you can avoid being on the highway – you should.  If you must travel – be extra cautious.

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management reported that by Thursday evening, the number of people evacuated statewide because of fires had climbed to an estimated 500,000. That’s over 10% of the 4.2 million residents of the state.  Firefighters are battling a record 900,000 acres of wildfires across Oregon. The public is urged to stay away from active and evacuated wildfire areas, to obey road closure barricades, and to monitor and follow evacuation orders. The public is urged to check local county websites for information on evacuation orders, which may include email, cell phone text messages. The public is also urged to sign up for emergency alerts; which vary by county.

There were no additional cases of Covid-19 reported in yesterday’s Covid-19 Community Update, which included all test results received as of the end of the day Wednesday. It showed 9 active cases and 22 close contacts being monitored by Public Health.

Today marks 19 years since the 9/11 terror attacks against the United States. Nearly 3,000 lives were lost when members of the Islamic extremist group al-Qaida hijacked four commercial airliners and crashed them across the eastern part of the country. The twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City were crumbled and the Pentagon in Virginia seriously damaged by hijackers, resulting in thousands of deaths and countless additional long-term health and financial hardships for victims and first responders. A fourth aircraft, which had been heading to Washington, D.C., was crashed in Pennsylvania’s Somerset County. The events of Sept. 11 shifted the course of U.S. foreign policy and launched the controversial U.S.-led war on terror. A small and personal flag raising occurred at the Lionshead Fire camp this morning in remembrance of the lives lost and forever changed on 9/11/2001. According to the Lionshead Fire Information Facebook page, “three members of FDNY are working alongside PNW3 as part of an ongoing partnership that started 19 years ago. PNW3 was one of the many federal Incident Management Teams that answered the call in the days and weeks following.” The post reads, “To the firefighters on the ground diligently working today to protect life and property as Oregon faces its own battle, keep your heads up, work safely and know you’ve got a team made up of America’s finest.”