Two athletes who competed for Columbia Gorge high schools had top twenty finishes in the Pan-Am Games in Toronto over the weekend. Trout Lake’s Spencer Paxson was sixth in the men’s cross county mountain bike event. Paxson finished in a time of 1:36:37, 5:23 behind gold medalist Raphael Gagne of Canada. Hood River’s Erin Jones took 19th in the women’s triathlon in a time of 2:05:52. Barbara Riveros of Chile was the gold medalist in that event.
The Mt. Adams Complex of fires now has a listed containment level of 63 percent. Firefighters who have been batting the quartet of fires on the west flank of Mt. Adams found heat remaining in the larger Horseshoe and Riley fires. Crews Monday will evaluate the perimeter of the Horseshoe Fire and extinguish remaining heat sources. Three Hotshot crews are working to mop up the Riley Fire perimeter, with the remaining heat scattered through the northern portion of that fire. No heat was detected in the Canyon or 7 Lakes fires, so they have been converted to patrol status. In addition, the Spiral Fire was detected Sunday afternoon burning among lava beds west of the Mt. Adams Complex. One crew and a helicopter from the complex assisted with initial attack, and work continues today to suppress that fire.
NORCOR and federal Department of Justice officials are talking about bringing more of a mental health component to the four-county regional jail facility. Local stakeholders and federal representatives held an initial mapping session two months ago, with another planned for this month. Hood River County Commission Chair and NORCOR board member Ron Rivers says the goal is to change incarceration at the regional jail to help people get better. Rivers noted this kind of program could also bring in revenue for NORCOR by making it available to other counties. He did emphasize the four NORCOR counties don’t have the money to establish it, and the federal government would have to provide some kind of grant to make it happen.
Oregon 59th District State Representative John Huffman says the just-completed legislative session was in some respects successful, but in other areas disappointing. Huffman said he thought the rules that were established for the sale of recreational marijuana, including a 17 percent sales tax, were good. But he was disappointed a transportation package could not be worked out, even though he expects those talks will continue on before next year’s shorter session. Huffman also expressed disappointment that nothing was approved to help deal with seismic retrofit of the state capital.
Oregon’s county fair season is about to shift into high gear in the weeks to come. That means it’s time to emphasize good biosecurity to protect animals and people from disease. Oregon Department of Agriculture field veterinarian Ryan Scholz says biosecurity is the best way to keep animals healthy before, during, and after events. Scholz says exhibitioners need to monitor their animals closely before bringing them to a fair, show, or competition. Afterwards, livestock owners need to isolate their animals from other animals back home for up to four weeks in case they harbor a virus. Outbreaks this year of high path avian influenza in backyard birds and equine herpes virus in horses underscore the importance of biosecurity.
Veterans and others are meeting this week to make plans for a sustainable farming operation as part of the Central Oregon Veterans Ranch. The non-profit group has worked to create a combination of farm and ranch on land outside of Bend, with a four-bedroom home on the property being converted into a hospice for veterans needing end-of-life care, with a goal of staffing them with veterans. Founder Alison Perry says the group is using permaculture methods to work the land instead of changing it to create certain growing conditions. She notes for veterans recovering from trauma, the approach is a learning experience on several levels. Perry says they would like to put a “tiny house” on the property for a foreman as finances permit and the farm and ranch operations get up and running.
Weather conditions last night produced a localized lightning storm in the area of the Horseshoe Fire in the Mt. Adams Wilderness. Lightning strikes started two fires. The size of the fires is unknown, as the Incident Team managing the Horseshoe Fire is also investigating these new fires. 305 personnel are on the scene as mop-up work around the perimeter of the fire continues and some are working suppression on the new fires. The Horseshoe Fire is still 250 acres and now 15% contained. Full containment is still expected on Sunday. The lower temperatures and higher humidity this weekend should help, although gusty winds could mitigate some of that help. The cause of the Horseshoe Fire is still unknown.
Effective today (Friday), the Gifford Pinchot National Forest will increase the Industrial Fire Precaution Level from Level 2 to Level 3. There are restrictions on firewood cutting with personal use firewood cutting prohibited, and timber operations and other industrial operations on National Forest System land will be required to follow Level 3 rules. Some activities are allowed between the hours of 8pm to 1pm. These precautions are in addition to Public Use Restrictions that began July 1st. For more details, contact the Gifford Pinchot Forest Headquarters at fs.usda.gov/giffordpinchot .
Firefighters will begin using direct suppression techniques today on the 250-acre Horseshoe Fire burning in the Mt. Adams Wilderness. According to incident commander Brian Gales, crews are laying hose lines to suppress the fire and begin mop-up along the perimeter. The reasons include the drought in the Western U.S. and the potential for the fire to leave the wilderness and impact tribal and private lands. The first priority for containment is the northern boundary of the fire, where the blaze is smoldering in abundant fuels. Second priority is the reduction of hazard trees and mopping up along the west flank. The third priority is cleaning up hotspots along the east flank and inside the perimeter of the 2012 Cascade Creek Fire. Hotspots have been observed inside that area. There will be flaggers and a pilot car on Forest Road 23. 189 personnel are working on the fire, along with helicopters and a water tender. Containment is still considered 0%, although the size of the fire hasn’t grown the last couple of days. The cause of the fire is unknown.
The Horseshoe Fire continues to burn on the southwest flank of Mt. Adams and in the Mt. Adams Wilderness. As of Tuesday morning, the fire had not grown since the weekend, with 250 acres burned so far. According to incident commander Brian Gales, a scout team found the fire had burned to the 2012 Cascade Creek Fire boundary along the fire’s south and east perimeter. Minimum impact suppression techniques, or MIST, are being used in all firefighting activities in the Mt. Adams Wilderness. Crews are attempting to limit impacts on the wilderness and cultural resources. A spike camp for firefighters is being established to increase efficiency. At last report, there were 5 crews onsite, 3 helicopters and 1 water tender. 170 personnel are fighting the fire, which has a containment of zero precent. The cause is undetermined at this point.