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NEAR APPLEGATE, Ore. — The Old Blue Mountain Fire is forcing a level 1 evacuation alert for all homes on the left fork of Humbug Creek Rd., and addresses 2542 and above on the main fork of Humbug Creek Rd. When those advisories were issued were spread by community members using a local fire district activated a phone tree.

When evacuations were issued Tuesday, fire officials turned to the community to get the word out.

Several communities and neighborhoods have phone tree systems in place that fire officials can activate in the event of an emergency. Crews with the Applegate Valley Fire District 9 go door to door to notify residents, but when they are dealing in a rural area, that can take more time.
the phone tree system helps to get the information out as soon as possible.

“We also find that the local knowledge that comes out of it from the community members knowing their neighbors, maybe specifics of whether they have animals involved or there is disabilities,” said Cpt. Tailese Goodnough with the Applegate Valley Fire District.

Fire officials also say the system helps community members contribute when dealing with fires.


NEAR APPLEGATE, Ore. — Old Blue Mountain Fire is now an estimated 99 acres. This is an increase from previous estimates of 60 and 80 acres. Fire officials say the increased estimate comes from better mapping of the fire.

Tonight, the fire line is 85 percent complete, and the fire is currently 30 percent contained.

Fire officials say steep terrain is making the fire fight more challenging.

A Level 1 evacuation alert is in effect for portions of Humbug Creek Rd. in Jackson County. The evacuation is for all homes on the left fork of Humbug Creek Rd., and addresses 2542 and above on the main fork of Humbug Creek Rd (the dirt portion).

A roadblock is in place on the right fork of Foots Creek Rd. to restrict traffic to local residents and fire-related vehicles. No evacuation alerts are in effect for the Foots Creek area.

Level 1 evacuation means to prepare and plan what things are essential to take, care for pets and livestock, and deciding where you will go should the evacuation level rise.

Stay with Newswatch 12 for the latest updates.

firewatchSISKIYOU COUNTY, Ore.– Some evacuation advisories have been lifted for residents near the July Complex.

Incident Commanders say residents of Quartz Valley, Mugginsville and the Greenview areas are no longer being asked to be prepared for an evacuation. This includes everyone along Quartz Valley Rd. between Scott River Road and Oro Fino Road, from Quartz Valley Road between Oro Fino Road and Highway 3 as well as residents of Scott Valley West of Hwy 3, between South Kidder Creek Road and Quartz Valley Road.

Fire officials said there is still active fire in the perimeter of the burned area. They said this will continue until unburned fuels burn out and to be extra careful when in those areas. Crews and equipment will also remain in the area. Keep an eye out on the roadway and turn headlights on while driving.

The July Complex in total is currently 18 percent contained at 34,612 acres. Several fires make up this complex. Most are at or near full containment except for the Whites Fires which is 18 percent contained at 30,530 acres.

There are still mandatory evacuations in place for the community of Sawyers Bar and the Eddy Gulch, Little North Fork, Idlewild, Mule Bridge, Robinson Flat and Whites Gulch areas.

An evacuation advisory is still in place for the Scott Valley communities of French Creek and Sugar Creek, as well as Black Bear Ranch, Godfrey Ranch and Blue Ridge Ranch.


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Tuesday evening’s thunderstorms popped up in parts of northern California and east of the Cascades. They were more isolated in nature and did not produce as much lightning as Monday’s storms in Josephine and Jackson Counties.  As the storms exit the region, a more quiet pattern takes over, but not before bringing some cloud cover Wednesday morning and gusty winds by Wednesday afternoon.

The clouds moving through the next 24 hours will be short-lived, but the cooler temperatures that are on the way will continue through the next several days.  Highs are going to be about five degrees below average by the end of the work week, and sunshine continues for most locations.

However, in areas where fires continue to burn, the smoke is still creating a thick haze and breathing problems for residents.  Fort Jones in Siskiyou County was reporting air quality in the “unhealthy” category again Tuesday.  That’s indicative of conditions that are unhealthy for everyone, and any extended period of time spent outdoors is not advised.  The goods news is that we aren’t expecting any new lightning-caused fire starts any time soon.  High pressure builds in over the next few days, meaning a quiet weather pattern free from the thunder and lightning.

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

Chief Meteorologist Kate McKenna

cellularMEDFORD, Ore.– Construction at US Cellular Park is one step closer to being finished.

Medford Parks and Recreation hosted a tour of the work for phase four of the project, Tuesday. This includes two new baseball and softball fields, and one full-sized multi-use field. These fields are expected to hold 10 to 18 more teams.

The construction of phase four is expected to cost more than 6-million dollars. The project as a whole is expected to be around 32 million.

Brian Sjothun with Medford Parks said the upgrades will in turn bring in millions because of tournaments and other events having more space to be hosted.

“We build this facility for the community and our leagues are full. We need more space. We need more fields of this caliber to be able to have our local kids and adults have a place to play.”

Phase four is expected to be complete in early October.


coyote trailsMEDFORD, Ore.– This week students are lacing up their boots to learn about wildlife. It is all part of the Wilderness Navigator Day Camp at Coyote Trails School of Nature in Medford. Kids seven to 12 are getting hands on learning everyday until Friday.

Kids are learning how to build a shelter and survive in the woods. A debris hut is created out of sticks and leaves. It took a few hours to make. Instructors also teach the kids how to navigate at night by using the stars and how to safely find water.

Instructor Joe Kreuzman says, “They gain a sense of confidence and a sense of their own reliability. They make better decisions when they go out in the woods. We’ve dispelled all of that fear so they can play and have fun.”>

This is the last week for this camp, but you can click here for more on upcoming events.


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MT ASHLAND, Ore. — It was a challenging winter for Mount Ashland. Not enough snow fell to get the lifts up and running for the first time in the slope’s history. The off-season has been busy and officials said the hire of a general manager will get them back on track to improving the skiing experience.

The lifts stand still on Mt. Ashland, as they have since the spring of 2013. Coming out of a ski season where little snow fell, new changes will be ready to go this year.

“Our goal is that the experience for everyone up there is going to be that much better. We did have some things in place and were planning to offer for last season when Mother Nature just didn’t cooperate,” said Mt. Ashland Association President Lisa Beam.

In May it was announced the year-round general manager position would be eliminated. That position is not only back, but now filled with a candidate they said best represents their new direction.

“Somebody with more community mindedness and background with working within their community, was first and foremost for us,” said Beam.

Hiram Towle will be taking over as general manager next month. He has worked at Sunday River ski resort in Maine and said he’s ready to move forward, past last year’s lack of snow.

“For every one challenge that I heard about there, I saw tat least ten amazing opportunities,” said Towle.

Towle said he will focus on making Mount Ashland year-round destination.

“Any challenges that come from weather or economy, you kind of have to bolster that by being year-round,” said Towle.

Connecting back to the community remains the focus.

“We need to get people excited and see  skiing fun and be up there using what is  so close to many of our hearts,” said Beam.

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ROGUE RIVER, Ore. – People living near another lightning-sparked wildfire have been told to be ready to leave if conditions worsen.

The Old Blue Mountain Fire was sparked by lightning Monday night, about eight miles south of Rogue River. The fire has burned about 60 acres, and is 15 percent contained.

Level 1 evacuation notices have been issued for all homes on the left fork of Humbug Creek Road and the main fork of Humbug Creek Road between address 2542 and the dirt road portion. The notice means people living in those areas need to be ready to leave if the fire grows toward homes.

A roadblock is also in place for the right fork of Foots Creek Road, and the road is only open to people who live there and fire traffic.

200 firefighters are on scene, and multiple helicopters and air tankers are dropping water and fire retardant on the flames.

The fire area is near an old logging site with minimal access, and one of the toughest challenges for fire crews is battling the topography.

“It’s extremely steep terrain,” said Public Information Officer Don Hickman. “Now we’re dealing with some afternoon winds, and folks are climbing up and down these hills, so it’s quite a job.”

Fire crews will stay on scene overnight Tuesday to continue to build fire lines.

EARTHQUAKEMEDFORD, Ore. – The area near the borders of Oregon, California and Nevada has seen a cluster of earthquakes in the past 24 hours, but experts say the activity can be common in that area.

About 13 earthquakes have been recorded since Monday in Nevada, just south of Lake County. All of them have been small, ranging between 2.6 and 3.6 magnitude.

Experts said the area along the east side of the Cascades is one of the most seismically active areas in Oregon.

“Those areas are going to be much more active than what we have around here, just because of the nature of the faulting which they have,” said Mike Strickler, Geology Professor at Rogue Community College. “You get a lot of small earthquakes.”

Strickler said these earthquakes are not a sign of any other larger seismic activity along the west coast, because it is a different type of activity. In these cases, the plates are being pulled apart. Earthquakes in the Cascadia Subduction Zone in the Pacific Ocean are caused by plates crashing together.



When my daughter was born, I was really concerned about the impact of having too much pink. So our crib sheets, high chair, and car seat were all neutral.  It did not stop her from wanting her nails painted (mine never are), choosing pink as her favorite color, and pretending to be a princess.  But still, she is an athlete #LikeAGirl, and loves bugs #LikeAGirl.



Meanwhile, my son is inundated by girl toys, girl TV shows, and pink.  If he wants to play with his sister, it’s Barbies or princesses. And the dress-up games don’t end when it’s time to clean up – he doesn’t turn down a necklace.
He sees his momma and his sister putting jewelry on – why should my 2 year old be told that wearing purple beads aren’t #LikeABoy enough.

I’m confidant that interest in playing dress-up, playing pretend with princesses and babies are all just as gender-neutral as dinosaurs, bugs, and monster trucks.

Above all, I’m thrilled my kids call each other their “best friend” and love to play together, no matter what society says their toy choice indicates about their gender.  #WellRounded



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