KWSO News for Mon., Sep. 14, 2020

The Lionshead fire, that started August 16th from a lightning strike on the Warm Springs Reservation, is mapped at 168,097 acres today with a large perimeter of fire activity.  The incident command post is at the fairgrounds in Madras with forward operating bases in Sidwalter and Sisters.   Here is this morning’s Lionshead fire briefing with PNW team 3 Incident Commander Noel Livingston.

You can download a PDF version of today’s Fire Map HERE

There is a level 2 (Be Ready to Go) evacuation notice in effect for Sidwalter and a level 1 (Get Ready) evacuation notice for Simnasho – due to Lionshead Fire Activity.   This is a precaution.

Residents should know that Fire Crews are working on creating defensive fire line and doing some back burning today to protect Sidwalter.  Additional smoke should not cause alarm as this is defensive work being done.

A Dense Smoke Advisory is in effect until 12 noon today in Central Oregon.  Wildfires burning in the region combined with forecasted conditions are causing air quality to continue at unhealthy levels.  Pollutants in smoke can cause burning watery eyes…runny nose… aggravate heart and lung diseases… and aggravate other serious health problems.  Limit outdoor activities and keep children indoors if it is smoky. Please follow medical advice if you have a heart or lung condition.

HERE is today’s Warm Springs Air Quality Report.

Motorists are reminded to reduce speed and keep your headlights on driving in Central Oregon with the thick smoke conditions.

The Warm Springs Tribal Government will be closed today due to the hazardous air quality and upgraded fire evacuation notices.  Essential services will be available.  Administration leave will be given.  Please stay and home and stay safe!

The Indian Health Service Clinic will open at 1pm today.  Morning appointments will need to be rescheduled.

The Old Warm Springs Elementary School Gym Building is set up as a Shelter.  Anyone needing relief from the smoke can utilize the shelter.  Entry is through the back door.  The facility will also serve as an evacuation center should that be needed.

Due to ongoing poor air quality, 509J school buildings will remain closed today.  The School meal program operated only at school locations this morning.  Deliveries to other locations didl not occur today.  All 509-J virtual classes will continue as scheduled today as comprehensive distance learning gets underway for at least the first 6 weeks of the new school year.

With the annual flu season about to start, doctors are still unclear exactly how this year’s influenza virus will interact with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.  In a normal year, the flu kills up to 60 thousand people in the US and can send more than 800,000 to the hospital.   In Warm Springs Public Health has a Drive-up Flu shot clinics scheduled this week from 1:30-3:20 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at the Agency Longhouse parking lot in the COVID testing waiting area.  This will be happening weekly starting tomorrow until probably the end of October.  The flu shot clinic will run very similar to the drive up Covid-19 testing but you’ll get a shot instead of a nasal swab.