KWSO News for Wed., Sep. 9, 2020

Pacific Northwest Type 1 Incident Management Team 3 took over command of the Lionshead fire Tuesday morning on a historic day for wildfires in the state of Oregon.  Over the past 2 days the Lionshead Fire crossed the crest of the Cascades and has grown to 105,340 Acres.  It has now combined with the Santiam fire, previously called the Beachie Creek Fire.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the Beachie Creek Lionshead Complex Fire burning in Oregon’s Marion, Clackamas, Linn and Jefferson counties, and on the Warm Springs Reservation.  Because of the potential for a major disaster due to the combined fires FEMA approved the state of Oregon’s request for a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant early yesterday afternoon

The Mt. Hood National Forest and the Willamette National Forest have temporarily closed to public access.  This includes developed campgrounds, dispersed camping, day use areas, wilderness areas, and all forest roads and trails.

The 242 Fire that started and spread quickly on Monday evening north of Chiloquin has grown to 10,000 acres, as of Tuesday night. Evacuations have been necessary and US Highway 97 is shut in the area. The fire was 5% contained by late Tuesday,

The White River fire north of Warm Springs fared well with the wind event of the past two days.  Containment lines by and large held and the White River Fire is estimated at 70% containment.

Wildfires continued to grow last night in Oregon, fueled by the dry winds across the state. Late last night, two major fires burned through the Rogue River valley, destroying structures and forcing evacuations in Talent, Phoenix, Central Point, Eagle Point, and Medford. All of Jackson County remains at evacuation level 1 “Get Set”, while much of Medford remains at Level 3 “Go Now.” In Lane County, much of the Mohawk Valley remains under Level 3 evacuations from the Holiday Farm Fire, which ripped down the McKenzie River TUES. Most of the southern half of Clackamas County is under Level 3: “Go Now” evacuations, as well. In Marion County, areas near the Santiam Canyon remain under level 3 evacuations, and Aumsville, Stayton, Sublimity and Silverton are at poised to evacuate if needed. Extreme fire conditions are expected to continue through tomorrow.

An additional 4 cases of Covid-19 were reported for Warm Springs Tuesday morning in the latest Community Update, which accounted for all test results received as of last Friday. That brings the total number of positive cases since testing began to 315. 20 active cases and 35 close contacts are being monitored by public health.

Warm Springs Tribal Council met and approved the Covid-19 Response Team recommendation for maintaining 50% of employees in Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs offices this week.   The Warm Springs Covid-19 Response Team will meet with Tribal Council again to discuss whether additional employees will return to the workplace next week.

Tribal offices remain closed to walk in traffic.  If you have business to conduct you should call for an appointment.

Oregon Health Authority released its Weekly Testing Summary Tuesday, which showed that, of 26,855 people tested during the week of Aug. 30-Sept. 5, 4.3 percent were positive. As in past weeks, the total for that week is likely to rise as test results continue to be reported to OHA. As of Sept. 5, Oregon’s cumulative positivity rate is 4.6 percent of people tested. A declining positive test rate shows that Oregonians’ efforts to use face coverings, physically distance, and avoid gatherings is helping to slow the spread of COVID-19.