mulert missingLAKE COUNTY, Ore. — The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is still searching for missing 18-year old Kevin Robert Mulert Thursday morning. Mulert is from Deerfield, Illinois and believed to be missing in a remote area of northern Lake County.

Mulert was reported missing on Wednesday from a therapeutic wilderness program after the program staff members discovered he was missing around 8:00 a.m. The programs campsite is six miles south of Frederick Butte.

About 30 searches from search and rescue teams out of Lake, Deschutes and Klamath counties are at the site focusing on a 5 mile area around the program’s campsite. Search teams on the ground include personnel on horses, ATV’s, motor vehicles and on foot. A search canine is also expected to join later today. Air resources are also being used to assist in the search.

Mulert is described as a bi-racial male, 5’11,” 200 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. He may have been wearing glasses and was believed to be wearing a red fleece jacket, khaki shorts and socks. He was not wearing shoes and walked away undetected from the camp during the early morning hours.

According to Sheriff McDonald, temperatures are expecting to be in the mid to upper 90′s again Thursday with a chance of thunderstorms. Anyone traveling in the area and sees someone with a matching description should call 911 immediately.

Police-Lights-22-250x169GRANTS 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.

pumice flat fireCRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK, Ore. — The Pumice Flat Fire located near the Southern boundary of Crater Lake Park has become a “complex,” according to officials at Crater Lake. The weather has caused the 25 acre wildfire to become a complex because there are several new fires within the same area.

The storms over the past two days have caused 16 new fires that are not contained. The complex is approximately 35 acres in radius and several of the fires can be seen from the road. There are resources working on 12 of the identified fires. Officials at the Park said each fire will be suppressed 100 percent and crews will continue to search for additional fires.

The work on Thursday will include recon, bucket drops and ground crews. There are repellers working on two of the fires and officials said they are hoping to receive an additional crew of fire jumpers later today.

The Pumice Flat Fire is 100 percent lined. There continues to be spot fires and isolated torching to the north end of the park.


Fire StockSISKIYOU COUNTY, Ca. — California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) reported Thursday morning that they had 15 new fires started by Wednesday afternoon’s thunderstorms. As of Thursday, all of those fires are contained, but crews are still out making sure there are no hot spots and reinforcing fire lines.

All of these fires were four acres or less in size. Suzi Brady of CAL FIRE said the fires were burning everything from timber to heavy ground fuels. The fires were widespread across Siskiyou County.

CAL FIRE said they are predicting more lightning today, so they have extra staffing on hand to battle any new fires that start up.

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GLENDALE, Ore. — The Swanson Group is moving forward after losing one of their mills to a fire earlier this month in Springfield and will now absorb up to 100 of their employees to other mills, including this location in Glendale.

Production will soon be ramping up at the Swanson Group’s Glendale plywood mill. 250 employees are out of work a couple hours up interstate five after a fire burned that mill to the ground. For some of those employees, there are options.

“As we roll out the details and they work their way through their personal situations, we’ll see how many can actually make the move,” said Swanson Group President and C.E.O. Steve Swanson.

100 Possible employees coming to work at a mill located just on the outskirts of a city of only 850.

Swanson said some just can’t make the move while others are considering staying for the week and commuting home on weekends. Either way, he doesn’t see Glendale’s population shooting up.

“We might see 50 at the most show up in Glendale and I don’t suspect all 50 will be residents of this community,” said Swanson.

Even if only a couple dozen take the offer, Glendale Mayor Jim Standard sees a positive impact on the local economy.

“Help support the stores, gas station, hardware store down here, you’ve got a deli across the street. They’re going to spend money,” said Mayor Standard.

That boost could be happening sooner rather than later.

“For those that can make the commitment and want to make a move, there’s jobs that will be starting as early as August the 4th,” said Swanson.

The future of their Springfield location will be determined in the coming weeks and months, but should they decide to rebuild, they say they’re at least two years away from reopening.

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Wednesday brought a widespread round of storms to much of our forecast area. There were just over 500 lightning strikes reported in Jackson County alone, and nearly 2500 region-wide. Round 3, expected today, is going to be very similar to Wednesday. Again, storms are going to be moving north, northeast through Jackson County and could stretch further west into Josephine.

Right now, it appears as though storms will be isolated in Josephine County and scattered over Jackson County. On Wednesday, storms made it as far west as the county line between the two. Today, they may push further west. Thunderstorms will be widespread over the Cascades, Basin and Northern California.

As far as timing is concerned, storms will begin firing up by early to mid afternoon east of the Cascades and in Siskiyou County. It will be a little later for the Valley — mid to late afternoon.

Lightning induced fires are already popping up all over. The National Weather Service could even see fires overnight on satellite imagery of which was “getting rapidly larger and darker ..indicating a lot of heat.” This was from a fire in SW Siskiyou County. Another in SW Modoc County was producing a plume of smoke which they said was “unusual at night and is indicative of the instability still present” in our area. Smoke will likely rise from any fires pretty easily, which is what the weather service means by and unstable atmosphere. There is simply too much rising air to have super smoky skies near the ground.

Fires are expected to continue popping up throughout the day. Fire crews will be patrolling the region all morning long until be grounded by the next round of storms this afternoon. Keep it here with Newswatch 12 for the latest on storm and fire coverage.


Meteorologist Alyssa Caroprese

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GRANTS PASS, Ore. – The Medford Mustangs moved into the AAA Legion State Tournament winner’s bracket with a 7-4 win over the Post 20 Dirtbags while the Grants Pass Nuggets fell into the loser’s bracket thanks to a 8-2 loss to the Corvallis Gerding Builders. Highlights are included.

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[UPDATE 9:15 a.m. JULY 31st] The Oregon Department of Forestry reported Thursday morning that the Salt Creek Fire has increased from 25 acres Wednesday evening to 80-100 acres. ODF crews are on scene battling that fire and are expecting more crews on the way.

WIMER, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Forestry responded dozens of fires on Wednesday evening, but ODF officials said the most concerning is the Salt Creek Fire.

The fire was one of the latest to develop sending a smoke plume up on the north side of the Rogue Valley about 10 miles Northeast of Wimer.

The fire was initially seen by an aircraft spotter, and quickly escalated from just a few acres to 25 acres in a matter of minutes. By sunset on Wednesday night, the fire is estimated to be about 60 acres.

The fire was near the top of Sprignett Butte, and fire fighters had a hard time finding a good vantage point to begin fighting the flames.

“It’s in deep rugged country, so the primary job to start out with is getting good access into it so we can get the bulldozer in,” said ODF Fire Prevention Specialist Brian Ballou.

Officials say this is a fire that will likely get worse before it gets better, and brought in aircraft assistance to try to line the fire before sunset. At this point, the fire is not threatening any structures. There is no estimate on containment yet.

Stay with Newswatch 12 for additional updates.


launch fireKLAMATH FALLS, Ore.– A human was determined to be the cause of the fire burning at Four Mile Lake. Forest Service officers figured out where it started and gathered evidence. Now they are interviewing witnesses and following up on several leads.

South Central Oregon Management officials said the Launch Fire is also being turned over to a Type II Incident Management Team to manage suppression operations. Forest officials said this is because of the location and complexity of the fire. They said it has heavy fuels and lot of snags.

The fire remains around 100 acres. There are still road closures in the area of the lake, as well as Great Meadows Sno-Park. The park is currently being used as a helibase for incident helicopters.


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Hundreds of lightning strikes illuminated the landscape this afternoon and evening.  Storms began firing early this afternoon, and continued for several hours.  A fire weather warning is in effect Wednesday, then another becomes effective Thursday afternoon – for good reason.  A handful of fires have already been sparked in northern California and southern Oregon, and the lightning threat returns on Thursday.

Thunderstorms that develop Thursday will most likely be more isolated in nature than those Wednesday afternoon.  That’s because we will see less instability, less available moisture, and a more southwesterly flow aloft.  With daytime heating, another round of storms will develop Thursday afternoon, but activity will be more focused in Siskiyou County and along and east of the Cascades.  However, there may also be a few storms that enter mainly southeastern Jackson County (as was the case Tuesday evening), but that’s about as far west as they are expected to reach.  There will be another bout of frequent and dangerous cloud to ground lighting with Thursday’s thunderstorms.

As for the heat, today was the twelfth triple digit day in Medford.  If Thursday proves to be as hot as forecasted, it would be the thirteenth.  It’s been mentioned before, but this July is on track to be the hottest on record for Medford.  What that means is that when the overnight low and afternoon high are averaged for each day, the average for this July is higher than the 1911 record.  This July’s average temperature, so far, is around 79.6 degrees.  The 1911 July average temperature was 78.9 degrees, which means this July has already, unofficially, broken the record.  However, if only high temperatures are taken into account, so far this July would be the second hottest on record.

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

Chief Meteorologist Kate McKenna

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