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GRANTS PASS, Ore. – The Grants Pass Nuggets loaded the bases with no outs in the 1st inning, but came up empty. And that symbolized their entire tournament. The Nuggets were eliminated on their home field, losing 11-0 to the Salem Withnell Dodgers in 7  innings. Meanwhile, the Medford Mustangs won their 10th straight game in convincing fashion, beating the Portland Barbers 10-1. Highlights and reaction are included.

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Thunderstorm activity Thursday was much more isolated than that of Wednesday evening.  For the most part, storms developed and tracked through northern California and the Klamath Basin.  That doesn’t mean that yesterday’s storms, and subsequent lightning strikes, are done wreaking havoc.  The Oregon Gulch Fire is believed to have been sparked by Wednesday evening’s lightning strikes.  Thursday evening, the fire southeast of Ashland, grew 100 times it’s size in three hours.  At approximately 3:30 PM, it was reported to be 300 acres, but by 7:00 PM, it had grown to more than 3000 acres.

A combination of very low relative humidity and gusty afternoon winds aided in the expansion of the Oregon Gulch Fire.  As the smoke plume billowed into the sky, what is known as a “pyrocumulonimbus” cloud formed.  This occurs when the heat from the fire expands and rises to a considerable height in the atmosphere, which is similar to that of a strong thunderstorm.  As the pyrocumulonimbus cloud increases in height, it may even produce lightning and rainfall.  Many times, this rain falls as “virga,” which evaporates before it reaches the ground.  The smoke plume from the fire was visible on both satellite and radar reflectivity, and the cloud was so expansive, that it actually produced lightning strikes.  This photo of the Oregon Gulch pyrocumulonimbus cloud was taken by K.C. Walden:


There is little relief in terms of rainfall for the fire fighting efforts in southern Oregon and northern California.  Unfortunately, the thunderstorm threat in ongoing.  While the Rogue Valley and northern California as expected to remain dry Friday, isolated storms are still in the forecast along and east of the Cascades.  Through the weekend, thunderstorms are back in the forecast for most locations.  The heat doesn’t leave either…in fact, Thursday was the thirteenth triple digit day in Medford, and this July looks to go down as the hottest on record.  Near triple digit temperatures remain in the forecast for northern California and the Rogue Valley into next week.

For more information, or to send me your weather pictures, head over to Facebook or Twitter.

Chief Meteorologist Kate McKenna

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ASHLAND, Ore. — The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is reporting a LEVEL THREE EVACUATION for some residents on Copco Road near Ashland.

Residents who live near surrounding roads also say they have been issued level one evacuations as well.

The Oregon Gulch Fire is burning at least 5,300 acres and growing rapidly in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Fire officials suspect the fire was started by lightning.

Level 3 evacuation is in effect for the 6,000 block of Copco Rd headed South to Box D Ranch.

Level 3 Evacuation means residents need to leave. If you choose to ignore this evacuation, emergency responders may not be able to get to you.

Fall Creek Ranch, just south of the fire area, has been designated a safe zone for evacuees.


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CENTRAL POINT, Ore. — Lightning strikes in southern Oregon have caused several dozen wildfires to pop up. Those fires have caused tents to be set up at Touvelle State Park.

With the Beaver Complex burning, and more thunderstorms on the way, Touvelle State Park has become a base for the Oregon Department of Forestry.

“Part of our strategy is planning for what might come and so we want to make sure we have the resources here to deal with that in a timely fashion,” said O.D.F. Public Information Officer Angie Lane.

While O.D.F. is planning, firefighters are arriving.

“We’re not sure what our assignment is yet and we’re here and ready to go,” said firefighter Glenn Jones.

Friday, the incident management team two is focused on the Beaver Complex. Burning more than 100 acres east of Wimer, getting crews in, and a good look at the fire, has been challenging.

“It’s burning in very steep terrain some pretty heavy fuel and with the expected lightning we have coming, it’s important we get on this thing as quickly as possible,” said Lane.

The largest of the fires in the complex is the salt creek fire, and at 150 personnel are on scene, with more on the way. So far, air attack has been key and five helicopter and one air tanker have been used. Both fire crews and officials know they’re in it for the long haul.

“Every day, we’re probably going to be dealing with something,” said Lane.

“Just remaining calm, let’s see what our assignment is and let’s attack the fire aggressive but safely,” said Jones.

With more crews and resources headed to southern Oregon, and with more thunderstorms on the way, even more tents are expected to be popping up at Touvelle State Park.

National Guard Fight Fires from the AirSALEM, Ore. — The Oregon National Guard is helping fight fires in our region from the air. The Department of Forestry called in helicopters as part of Operation Plan Smokey.

This request is the second this fire season for two heavy helicopters, one light helicopter and a Medivac is on standby.

These resources will help fire crews on the Beaver Complex, just north of Medford. There aren’t any local National Guard members that have been deployed this week. The air support takes off out of Salem.

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TALENT, Ore. – Crews continued to battle several small fires in the hills between Talent and Ashland that were sparked by lightning Wednesday.

A National Forest Service spokesman said there are several fires burning in the Wagner Butte area. The largest is being called “Wagner 1,” and has burned about eight acres.

Crews from the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Oregon Department of Forestry, and other agencies are on scene with hand crews and engines trying to put water on the flames and build fire lines.

“There’s some steep ground,” said Forest Service spokesman Paul Galloway. “Some of it’s more easily accessible than others, so yeah, there’s some challenges out there.”

Wednesday, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office put an evacuation notice for people living between mile markers 11 and 12 of Wagner Creek Road, but the notice was later lifted. Galloway said there are currently no homes threatened near the fires.

With more lightning in the forecast for Thursday evening, Galloway said crews were working to put out as many of the fires as they can, so that they are ready if more fires are sparked.

Money-2(CNN) — A growing number of Americans are paying for college out of their own pockets. That’s according to Sallie Mae, which specializes in educational financing.

In the last school year, 42 percent of college cost was covered by parents or student income or savings. The previous year, it was 38 percent, but it had been declining for three years.

Sallie Mae’s report also shows families borrowed 27 percent of college costs last year, this year it’s 22 percent. Many parents are cutting costs in areas like student housing and textbooks.

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Troon Vineyard Anniversary

Troon Vineyard is celebrating another anniversary.  The vineyard is celebrating 42 years of creating wine and they’re inviting you to celebrate.  There will be live music, south american cuisine and of course, wine.  It’s all happening at the vineyard on Kubli Road in the Applegate Valley.  It’s happening Saturday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.  Everyone gets in free, but you will have to pay for food and wine.

Shrek: The Musical

One of the most popular ogres is heading from the big screen to the stage.  Shrek: The Musical opens Friday.  The Teen Musical Theater of Oregon is putting on the show at the Craterian Theater at the Collier Center in Medford.  The show runs from August 1st through August 9th.  Tickets are $24 for adults and $14 for youth.


Theater lovers can see Godspell on the stage.  The play features several favorite songs including “By My Side” and “All for the Best.”  The show tells bible parables using games, storytelling techniques and comic timing.  Godspell opens Friday at the Randal Theater and offers shows through August 17th.  Advanced reserved seats are $15 or pay what you want at the door.

Britt Classical Festival

The hills will be alive with the sound of music this weekend.  On Friday, the Britt Classical Festival begins.  It is the first season on the hill for music director, Teddy Abrams.  The opening night features Abrams and Beethoven’s Fifth. That gets underway at 8 p.m., with a conversation starting at 7 p.m.

Del Norte County Fair

The Del Norte County Fair kicks off Thursday with country singer, John Michael Montgomery.  The fair continues through Sunday.  It’s packed full of fun, including the so-called “Quad Bash,” a destruction derby and of course, the rodeo.


[UPDATE 11:15 a.m. JULY 31ST] The Josephine County Search and Rescue team recovered the body of 7-year old Dakota Vincent at 8:20 a.m. Thursday. He was found about 50 ft downstream from the Parkway Bridge in 8 ft of water. The Search and Rescue dive team were able to get his body. Josephine County Search and Rescue officials confirmed Vincent died from drowning.

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – Law enforcement in Josephine County is continuing the search for a missing boy at Baker Park.

On Monday night, police and fire and rescue responded to Baker Park for a possible drowning, reported east of the bridge. Grants Pass Department of Public Safety said several people called reporting two children and an adult female had gone under water and efforts were being made to save them.

The woman and her 5-year-old sister had gotten out of the water by the time emergency responders arrived, and were being tended to after being rescued by bystanders. The 7-year-old child was still missing and was last seen in the water.

GPDPS reports the Josephine County Search and Rescue Dive Team responded along with two rescue boats and continued the search this morning. Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the police department at 541-450-6260.

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