Rogue Valley News, Monday 5/31 – Two Southern Oregon Wildfires Prompt Evacuation Alerts, Temperatures and Fire Risk Expected to Climb Across Oregon

The latest news stories and stories of interest in the Rogue Valley from the digital home of Southern Oregon, from Wynne Broadcasting’s RogueValleyMagazine.com

Monday, May 31, 2021

Rogue Valley Weather

Memorial Day Sunny and hot, with a high near 99. Calm wind becoming north northwest around 5 mph in the afternoon.

Tuesday– Sunny and hot, with a high near 103. Calm wind becoming north northwest around 5 mph in the afternoon.

Wednesday– Sunny and hot, with a high near 99. Light north northwest wind becoming northwest 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon.

Thursday– Sunny, with a high near 93.

Friday– Sunny, with a high near 88.

COVID UPDATES

Oregon reports 257 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 2 new deaths

There are two new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,668. The Oregon Health Authority reported 257 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 today bringing the state total to 201,260.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (1), Benton (2), Clackamas (29), Columbia (6), Coos (2), Curry (1), Deschutes (15), Douglas (12), Harney (1), Jackson (7), Jefferson (8), Josephine (2), Klamath (6), Lane (11), Linn (16), Marion (30), Morrow (3), Multnomah (65), Polk (1), Sherman (1), Tillamook (1), Union (1), Washington (26), Yamhill (10).

Vaccinations in Oregon

Today, OHA reported that 17,982 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 8,104 doses were administered on May 29 and 9,878 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on May 29.

The seven-day running average is now 25,929 doses per day.

Oregon has now administered a total of 2,203,469 first and second doses of Pfizer, 1,599,347 first and second doses of Moderna and 142,531 single doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.

As of today, 1,843,416 people have completed a COVID-19 vaccine series. There are 2,237,342 people who have had at least one dose.

Cumulative daily totals can take several days to finalize because providers have 72 hours to report doses administered and technical challenges have caused many providers to lag in their reporting. OHA has been providing technical support to vaccination sites to improve the timeliness of their data entry into the state’s ALERT Immunization Information System (IIS).

These data are preliminary and subject to change. OHA’s dashboards provide regularly updated vaccination data, and Oregon’s dashboard has been updated today.

COVID-19 hospitalizations

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 250, which is seven fewer than yesterday. There are 60 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is four more than yesterday.

The total number of COVID-19 positive patient bed-days in the most recent seven days is 1,836, which is a 11.3% decrease from the previous seven days. The peak daily number of beds occupied by COVID-19 positive patients in the most recent seven days is 274.

The total number of patients in hospital beds may fluctuate between report times. The numbers do not reflect admissions per day, nor the length of hospital stay. Staffing limitations are not captured in this data and may further limit bed capacity. More information about hospital capacity can be found here.

Vaccination Rates Continue To Decrease Across Oregon

According to data collected by the Oregon Health Authority, vaccination rates are continuing to decrease even after Governor Kate Brown’s announced, on May 21, that Oregonians now have a chance to win a million dollars if they get vaccinated by June 27.

As of Saturday, the seven-day running average of vaccinations is at a little more than 27,000 doses per day, which is about a 16,000 dose decrease compared to late April, when vaccinations were at its highest peak.

And in Jackson County, vaccination doses this week have decreased by more than 20% compared to the week before Gov. Brown’s announcement. But according Jackson County Public Health Director, Dr. Jim Shames, this was expected.

“Remember the whole reason for this program is that we’ve kind of picked the low hanging fruit already when it comes to vaccinations,” said Dr. Shames.

Even with the vaccination rate slowing down down across the state, more and more people are still getting their first and second doses of a coronavirus vaccine.

Today OHA reported that 31,325 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 15,280 doses were administered on May 28 and 16,045 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on May 28.

Jackson County has also surpassed more than 94,000 people vaccinated with at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine and almost 80,000 are fully vaccinated.

OHA data also shows that Jackson County has vaccinated about 42% of its total population with at least one dose. But, Dr. Shames says that when it comes to Gov Brown’s goal, of vaccinating Oregonians 16 years and older, Jackson County is about 50% complete.

Josephine County has vaccinated about 36% of its population, Klamath County has vaccinated about 36%, Lake County has vaccinated about 29% and Curry County has vaccinated about 45% of its population. 

LOCAL HEADLINES:

Two Southern Oregon Wildfires Prompt Evacuation Alerts

Sycan River Fire bulldozer USFS 530

East Antelope Road Fire Near Eagle Point

A fire was burning on East Antelope Rd in Eagle Point with Level 2 evacuations started for all addresses South of the roadblock at 8465 E Antelope Rd. Eagle Point, OR 97524.

Initial notifications to residences were made by Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) patrol units and Oregon State Police (OSP). Approximately 14 JCSO Search and Rescue volunteers are now assisting with roadblocks and evacuation notifications.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office at noon on Sunday lowered from Level 2 to Level 1 (Be Ready) the evacuation alert on the East Antelope Road Fire near White City, which also prompted roadblocks. The Oregon Department of Forestry reported it burned nearly 50 acres before it was fully lined, and mop-up was underway.

Oregon Department of Forestry information on the fire fighting efforts is available at this link: https://www.facebook.com/ODFSouthwest/

The Jackson County Emergency Management information is available at: https://jacksoncountyor.org/emergencyJackson Co. Sheriff’s Office 

The Sycan River Fire near Beatty

A new, wind-driven wildfire broke out Sunday north of the Klamath County town of Beatty, prompting a Level 2 (Be Set) evacuation order for residents of Sycan Forest Estates, the second Southern Oregon fire to prompt evacuation alerts this Memorial Day weekend.

The Sycan River Fire was on the Fremont-Winema National Forest’s Chiloquin Ranger District about 20 miles north of Beatty, the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership reported Sunday night.

The fire was estimated Sunday evening at about 250 acres, with no containment, burning in mixed conifer and brush. The cause was under investigation. Forest Service spokeswoman Tamara Schmidt said there could be private lands involved, but fire managers were unsure as of Sunday evening

The Klamath County Sheriff’s Office has issued a Level 2 (get set) evacuation order for the Sycan Forest Estates. Residents need to be prepared to leave immediately if needed, deputies said.

For the latest evacuation information, visit https://www.facebook.com/KlamathCountyGov. To sign up for Klamath County alerts, visit http://alerts.klamathcounty.org.

A Level 1 (Be Ready) evacuation notice was issued initially, later upgraded to a Level 2. Under a Level 2 evacuation notice, residents are advised of a significant wildfire risk and to be ready to move at a moment’s notice.

The American Red Cross and Klamath County Community Emergency Response Team have established a temporary evacuation point in the parking lot of Gearhart Elementary School located at 61100 Metler Street in Bly. Evacuees can access resources at this point to help them.

A local Type 3 Incident Management Team will take over management of the Sycan River Fire at 6 a.m. Monday.

The Sycan River Fire is burning approximately 10 miles northeast of the area burned by the Ponina Fire last month.

Temperatures and Fire Risk Expected to Climb Across Oregon

Temperatures are expected to climb across Oregon through the Memorial Day weekend and into the following week.

Southern Oregon is preparing for highs potentially exceeding 100 degrees. That’s not the earliest triple digits have been recorded at the Medford Airport, but it’s about a month earlier than normal.

National Weather Service meteorologist Miles Bliss said temperatures will likely peak Tuesday, followed by a slight cooldown starting Wednesday.

“We stand to break a few records potentially,” Bliss said.

Temperatures are also likely to be in the low- to mid-90s across much of the state, including the Portland metro area. The forecast calls for slightly hotter temperatures in Bend and Central Oregon.

AROUND the STATE of OREGON

Three People Killed in Fatal Crash on Hwy 58 in Lane County

On Sunday, May 30, 2021 at approximately 10:15 A.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a vehicle collision on Hwy 58 near milepost 27.

Preliminary investigation revealed a Ford Taurus, operated by James Johnson (31) of Oakridge, was westbound passing in a no passing zone when it collided with a also westbound Chrysler Town and Country, operated by Michael Cary (63) of Oakridge, the Taurus then collided with a eastbound Mazda 3. 

Three occupants in the Mazda 3 sustained fatal injuries and were pronounced deceased.  A fourth occupant was transported by air ambulance to the hospital with serious injuries. Cary was not transported but later went to the hospital for treatment. Johnson was transported to the hospital.

Officials said the collision happened just west of Black Canyon Campground around 10:15 a.m. on Sunday morning.

Oakridge Fire & EMS, Dexter Rural Fire District, Pleasant Hill, Eugene/Springfield Fire, Lane County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police, and the Oregon Department of Transportation responded to the scene, officials said.

The road cleared around 6 p.m. Sunday night after being closed most of the day. Oregon State Police is investigating and names will be released when appropriate. Oregon State Police

Fatal Crash on Hwy 97 in Klamath County

On Saturday, May 29, 2021 at approximately 8:22 P.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a single vehicle crash on Hwy 97 near mile post 173.

Preliminary investigation revealed an Audi All-Track, operated by Richard Enquist (41) of Bend, was southbound when it went off the roadway and rolled.

Enquist sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased.

OSP was assisted by the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Lapine Fire Department, ODOT, and Central Oregon Police Chaplaincy. — Oregon State Police 

Fatal Crash on Hoover Creek Lane in Wheeler County

On Saturday, May 29, 2021 at approximately 4:20 P.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a vehicle crash on Hoover Creek Lane outside of Fossil.

Preliminary investigation revealed a Honda 450R motorcycle, operated by Timothy Bender (32) of Condon, was northbound and collided with a southbound Subaru Outback operated by Thomas Edwards (71) of Bend.

Bender sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased.

Edwards and passenger, Gale Brown (61) of Bend, received minor injuries.

OSP was assisted by Wheeler County Sheriff’s Office and EMS. — Oregon State Police 

Fatal Crash on Hwy 206 in Sherman County

On Friday, May 28, 2021 at approximately 3:20 P.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a single vehicle crash on Hwy 206 near milepost 12.

Preliminary investigation revealed a Harley Davidson motorcycle, operated by Ricky Stocker (62) of Hillsboro, was eastbound when it went off the road and down an embankment.

Stocker sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased.

OSP was assisted by the Sherman County Sheriff’s Office, Sherman County EMS, and ODOT. — Oregon State Police

Traffic Accident Fatality in Roseburg

UPDATE: The motorcycle rider involved in Friday’s accident has been identified as 26 YOA, Erik Brown, from Roseburg.  On Saturday, May 29th, Brown passed away from his injuries sustained during the accident.

On Friday, May 28th at about 1:35 PM the Roseburg Police Department responded along with medics from Bay Cities Ambulance and the Roseburg Fire Department to a report of a traffic collision between a street motorcycle and a Suzuki Sidekick utility. The motorcyclist, a 26-year-old Roseburg man with a valid motorcycle endorsement, was transported by ambulance to Mercy Medical Center, from which he was flown to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland for treatment of head injuries. The motorcyclist was wearing an approved helmet.

The driver of the Suzuki was a 64-year-old Sutherlin woman with a valid driver license. She was uninjured but was examined at the scene by emergency medical services. Her 1994 Suzuki Sidekick was towed from the scene by Roseburg Towing.

The motorcycle was a 2015 Kawasaki badly damaged by the collision and was seized as potential evidence by the Roseburg Police Department, which is investigating whether speed was a factor in the collision.

The initial investigation indicated the motorcycle was traveling east on Harvard Avenue in the inside lane of travel when it passed a slower vehicle by swerving into the outside lane. Meanwhile, the Suzuki was turning off of Harvard Avenue and onto Stanton Street at about the same time, taking it into the path of the motorcycle which collided with the right side of the second vehicle.

The accident remains under investigation and names are not being released at this time. – Roseburg Police Dept.

13 Year Old Oregon Girl In ICU After Attempting TikTok Fire Challenge

A Portland family believes it was a TikTok fire challenge video that is behind why their 13-year-old is now in the intensive care unit with severe burns on her neck and arm.

Kimberly Crane is Destini Crane’s mother and said her daughter was filming a TikTok video in a bathroom at their Portland home when her daughter caught on fire.”

It was unreal, heartbreaking,” she said. “Like I don’t think anyone wants to see their daughter on fire. It was horrible.”

Destini’s sister, Andrea, said that a friend was also there when it happened on May 14.”Her friend was yelling, she was filming TikToks, she was filming TikToks,” Andrea said.

The TikTok video they believe she was trying to mimic shows a man spraying hairspray on the mirror and lighting it on fire.”There was a capped bottle of alcohol sitting on the counter, and the whole side of it had busted open, and there was a lighter and broken candle,” Andrea said. “So, that’s just kind of the conclusion we came to.”Portland Fire and Rescue responded to the call and are investigating.

Firefighter Rob Garrison said these challenges put everyone at risk.”This is maybe one of the most dangerous things I’ve ever seen anybody do in my life,” he said.Garrison said when your skin catches on fire. It burns within seconds.”You could be standing next to a lake if you want and light yourself on fire, and by the time you hit the water, you’re probably going to have burns on your body,” Garrison said.

Since Destini was first admitted to the ICU, she’s had a tracheotomy, and doctors are now in the process of doing skin grafts on her neck and arm. The Crane’s said they want to warn other parents about the dangers these videos pose and help prevent this from happening to anyone else.”Monitor what kids are looking at because they can put themselves in dangerous situations without even realizing it,” Andrea said.

Garrison said parents need to have this talk with their kids.”You’re not only putting yourself in danger; you’re putting your entire family and anybody who is in that building in danger,” he said.

The family does have a GoFundMe set up to help pay for the medical costs.

Invasive Tree Frogs Found In Plants Shipped To Oregon

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says invasive Cuban treefrogs were found this month in plants shipped to Oregon.

Cuban Treefrog

It says two non-native and potentially invasive Cuban treefrogs (Osteopilus septentrionalis) were found May 17th, traveling on a nursery plant sold on location in Oregon and another purchased online.

Though wildlife officials are not sure if a Cuban treefrog could survive the entire year in Oregon, it could possibly survive the late spring to early fall timeframe in many parts of the state.

ODFW says Cuban treefrogs prey on other frogs, tadpoles, small lizards and snakes.

“They also secrete a mucus that may irritate your eyes and nose, cause allergy-like symptoms and possibly trigger an asthma attack,” said ODFW Invasive Species Supervisor Rick Boatner.

The state directs people to not release any found animals into the wild and to check with ODFW for specific identification of the species.

You can make calls about insects or snails to the Oregon Invasive Species hotline at 1-866-INVADER or  https://oregoninvasiveshotline.org.

ODFW advises nursery plant retailers and customers to inspect all products and contact wildlife officials if any frogs or other species are found with a product.

“It’s critical to prevent non-native species from entering Oregon rather than try to deal with them once they’ve become established. This particular species of treefrog is a threat to native frogs and other amphibians in places where they have become established such as Florida because they can quickly reproduce and out-compete native frog species for food or space,” Boatner said.

Similar to another invasive species incident that occurred last month involving zebra mussels found in Marimo Balls (Moss Balls) in aquariums, non-native tree frogs entered Oregon through a supply chain.

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