Rogue Valley News – Monday, 8/24 – Oregon Firefighters Deployed to Assist California Fires

The latest news stories and stories of interest in the Rogue Valley and around the state of Oregon from the online digital home of the valley,

Monday, August 24th

Rogue Valley Weather

Today: Isolated showers and thunderstorms. Widespread haze before 3pm. Patchy smoke after 3pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 95. Calm wind becoming north around 5 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Tuesday: Widespread haze before 9am. Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 96. Calm wind becoming northwest 5 to 8 mph in the afternoon.

Wednesday: Sunny, with a high near 95. Calm wind becoming northwest around 6 mph in the afternoon.

Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 94.

Friday: Sunny and hot, with a high near 97.

Today’s Headlines

The state’s death toll from COVID-19 is unchanged from yesterday and remains at 417, the Oregon Health Authority reported yesterday. Oregon Health Authority reported 231 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday, bringing the state total to 24,937. Klamath County reported two new cases.

Representative Greg Walden sent a letter to Governor Kate Brown on Thursday, urging her to take up the enhanced unemployment benefits approved by President Donald Trump via executive order.

Walden cited states like Idaho and Colorado, which have taken up the $400 benefit stipulated by President Trump. However, Oregon is far from alone in being wary of taking on the benefits. As of Thursday, only 11 states had taken up the offer, Forbes reported. Some other states, like California and New York, have already indicated that they will decline. The CARES Act gave unemployed workers an extra $600 per week benefit, but that program has since run out for workers who began receiving benefits early in the pandemic. Democrats in Congress have been pushing to extend the full $600, but both Republicans and the White House have largely dismissed the idea.

A man accused of firing at several vehicles since May on Interstate 5 is due in court today.

8-23 I-5 shooter
Kenneth Ayers

OSP spokesman Captain Tim Fox said that troopers arrested 49-year-old Kenneth Ayers in connection with the shootings at 11 p.m. on Thursday, though an earlier statement said that he was taken into custody the day prior. Troopers closed in on Ayers after the shooting north of Central Point on Wednesday night, when a local woman was injured. By that night, investigators learned that a UPS truck may have been involved. Investigators tracked a UPS semi-truck about an hour (60 miles) north of the August 19 shooting, to the Roseburg area — allowing troopers to seize and execute a search warrant on the truck and trailer. The search found a gun “consistent with the type used” with several of the shootings. Ayers was also located in the Roseburg area, and later booked into the Jackson County Jail.

Oregon Liquor Control Commission issued an Order of Immediate License Suspension to the licensee of Coos Bay Speedway Enterprises in Coos County. 

The suspension is for violating public health social distancing and face covering requirements. The business is not allowed to sell any alcoholic beverages. On Friday, August 14, 2020 the operators of the Coos Bay Speedway staged an event with a crowd OLCC compliance staff estimated to be over a thousand people. Under Oregon’s Phase 2 Reopening Guidance venue and event operators are required to limit outdoor gatherings to 250 people and Coos County is currently in Phase 2. OLCC inspectors also saw that there was an absence of social distancing between spectators, and that few of the race track staff or patrons were wearing face coverings, including people serving alcohol.

Teams of Oregon firefighters arrived in California to help with the response to a massive complex of lightning-caused wildfire’s that have ravaged areas around Napa Valley.

As of Friday morning, the LNU Lightning Complex covered more than 219,000 acres — bigger than the deadly 2018 Camp Fire at its largest, and presently the 10th largest in California history — and was only 7 percent contained. Cal Fire says that it has destroyed 480 structures and damaged 125 more. At Cal Fire’s request, the Oregon Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) mobilized five task forces to send south. Three groups from Linn, Marion, and Clatsop counties embarked on August 19, with two more from Lane and Klamath counties joining the journey on August 20. Together, the task forces include 86 Oregonian firefighters, meant to help provide structural firefighting and all-hazards assistance. This year marks the fourth in a row that the OSFM has mobilized task forces to support firefighting efforts in California, the agency said.

See the source image

There will be virtual community information meetings about the Crane Fire today, Monday, August 24.

The first meeting will be held over Facebook Live in English starting at noon and then in Spanish starting at 12:45 p.m.  The meetings will have the same key information shared, although questions may vary. The meeting will be conducted by Northwest Incident Management Team 12 in partnership with the Lake County Chamber of Commerce, the Fremont-Winema National Forest and the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership (SCOFMP).

At noon, the Facebook Live event can be found at  At 12:45 p.m., the Facebook Live event in Spanish can be found at

After the meeting, the video will be posted on both Lake County Chamber of Commerce sites, as well as on the Fremont-Winema National Forest page at and the SCOFMP page at for those who would like to view the meeting later.

The Crane Fire is currently burning approximately 10 miles southeast of Lakeview.  Fire information from members of the Type 2 Incident Management Team will be shared, including weather, fire behavior and operations.  The Incident Commander will be available for both events.

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