Rogue Valley News, Friday, Aug. 9th – Red Flag Warning For Rogue Valley Area for Lightning Caused Fires

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Weather for the Rogue Valley

A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11am.   High near 86. Overnight low of 60.

A chance of showers or thundershowers at times, with a high near 75.

Sunny, with a high near 86.

Sunny, with a high near 92.


Fire crews in the Rogue Valley are staying on high alert today and through the weekend for possible lightning storms that are expected.

“It’s not uncommon that a lightning storm come through Jackson and Josephine County and starts dozens, if not a hundred or more small fires in a very short period of time,” said Chris Wolfard, operations chief with the Applegate Valley Fire District. 

That’s why firefighters can get spread pretty thin when lightning strikes, Wolfard said. Firefighters also face special challenges when fighting fires caused by lightning, he added. 

Lightning normally strikes tall places, like ridges. This makes it challenging to actually get to fires caused by lightning. These fires also come with a storm. That means there’s almost always a lot of wind that can spread the fire to nearby places, like a neighborhood. 

This is why firefighters said you should make sure to clear out overgrown grass and keep plants away from your house. 

“Firefighters are for emergencies,” Wolfard said. “So if you can do the work ahead of time to prevent that emergency by reducing the fuels and by preventing ignitions, you won’t need to call the firefighters.”

Red Flag Warning

Areas Affected: Central Siskiyou County Including Shasta Valley; Western Klamath National Forest

…Fire Weather Risk to Continue Today through Saturday Evening… .A strong system for this time of the year will move up from the south today and could bring frequent lightning on dry fuels late this morning into this evening.

Thunderstorms are expected to produce little or no rainfall to start, then the chance for wetting rain is expected to increase this evening. The risk of thunderstorms will continue overnight through Saturday evening, though these should produce significant rainfall. …RED FLAG WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 11 AM THIS MORNING TO 5 PM PDT SATURDAY FOR ABUNDANT LIGHTNING ON DRY FUELS FOR FIRE 

In Oregon’s Washington County, the Sheriff’s Office announced yesterday that two officers had been shot.   One deputy suffered non-life-threatening injuries. The other has serious injuries but “his prognosis is encouraging,” according to the report.

A suspect is in custody after shooting two Washington County Sheriff’s deputies Thursday afternoon.

The two officers were searching for the armed theft suspect in an area north of Henry Hagg Lake. The suspect was also shot and is in custody tonight. The deputies were shot at around 5:30 pm on SW Scoggins Valley Road. The two deputies were taken to Oregon Health & Science University, and their conditions weren’t immediately known.

A sheriff’s office spokesman said the deputies were part of a tactical negotiations team and at least one of the deputies was unconscious when they were transported. After the deputies were shot, law enforcement tracked down and shot the suspect who was later taken to the hospital as well.

The sheriff’s office received the first call of a theft in progress just after 2 p.m. according to the spokesman. The homeowner reported a man outside the house stealing guns out of a locked cabinet on their property.

Deputies helped the homeowners get out of the house and then began searching for the suspect.   Eventually, the suspect and deputies exchanged gunfire and that’s when the deputies were shot. The spokesman says there’s no longer a threat to the community.

Closer to home in Phoenix, Oregon, local police are continuing the search for a missing man.  The Phoenix Police Department said 66-year-old Gary Wayne Gausen hasn’t been seen since August 3.

According to officers, Gausen is new to the area and has recently “been finding company amongst the local transient community.”  Police are still actively searching for Gausen. On Thursday, a field was searched near the Phoenix interchange and an officer scanned the Bear Creek Greenway. Gausen doesn’t drive and has medical issues that require medication. He’s described at a white man, 5’6” weighing 155 pounds with gray shoulder-length hair and hazel eyes.

Anyone who has any information about the whereabouts of Guasen is asked to call the Phoenix Police Department at 541-535-1113.

Oregon hopes to build its way out of its housing crisis under first-in-the-nation state legislation signed by Gov. Kate Brown Thursday meant to encourage local cities to construct denser, more affordable housing options.

The law targets a century-old practice known as “exclusionary single family zoning,” where local city governments only allow for the construction of single family home. The zoning often prohibits multi-family residences including duplexes, triplexes and others that are often more inexpensive. Critics say the practice has acted as a form of economic and racial segregation.

“If a community is filled with only large and expensive homes, that often restricts who can move there,” said Robert Silverman, a professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Buffalo. “Couple that with the other historical barriers that have prevented minorities from homeownership and this all works to perpetuate segregation in communities.”

Under the new law, cities with more than 10,000 residents must now allow for the construction of some type of what’s known as “missing middle housing,” or housing types that are somewhere between high-rise apartments and single family homes.

The move comes months after the governor signed the nation’s first rent control law, limiting rent increases to about 10% annually.

“States across the country should pay attention to what Oregon is doing on housing,” said David Morely, a senior research associate with the American Planning Association. “Oregon has taken incredible first steps in addressing its housing crisis.”

It’s estimated that nearly 2.8 million people live in cities affected by the law, which was inspired by a Minneapolis city ordinance.

A lack of affordable housing is part of the reason behind soaring rents, experts suggest. From 2000-2016, Oregon produced only 89 houses for every 100 families, according to state data. The period following the Great Recession saw some of the lowest growth, with only 63 units produced for every 100 households from 2010-2016.

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