Oregon Gulch Fire

Medford, Ore. — Due to increased fire activity with long-range spotting of the Faulkstein Fire to the northeast, Incident Commanders have advised the Siskiyou County Sheriff and Siskiyou Office of Emergency Services of the need to initiate evacuations.   Effective immediately, the following areas will be under evacuation orders: Mandatory Evacuation are in place for: Scott Valley Road from Bridge Flat to the intersection of Hwy 96 and all areas south of Hwy 96 between Scott River Road and Grider Creek

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Although we saw a break from the smoke and haze for a few days in northern California and southern Oregon, it definitely made a return Wednesday.  In fact, as winds shifted late Tuesday evening, air quality began to decrease in Fort Jones and Etna, and as the sun rose Wednesday, it was evident that the haze made its way back into southern Oregon.

Air quality remains “unhealthy” for parts of Siskiyou County and it’s been reading “moderate” just further north in Jackson and Klamath Counties.  We are seeing this surge of smoke again due to the west southwesterly winds aloft, which have pushed the smoke towards the northeast.  Because of this, visibility has been greatly reduced in Montague and even slightly reduced in Medford.

A change in the winds comes when a cold front passes Friday into Saturday, which will then add a more northerly component to the wind aloft.  This will help keep some of the smoke out of southern Oregon.  As it draws near, Labor Day is still expected to be mostly sunny and pleasant for inland locations, and cool and mostly cloudy along the coast.

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

Chief Meteorologist Kate McKenna

Parkerson_1KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — The Major Crime team identified a person of interest in the officer involved shooting from Wednesday morning.

Police said 30-year-old William Jack Parkerson is a white male approximately 5′ 11″ and weighs approximately 180 pounds. He is bald and has a chest tattoo that reads “Norte” and an abdomen tattoo that reads “Under no Law/United Nortenos Locos.” The suspect is still at large and considered armed and dangerous. The public is warned not to approach the person of interest or the vehicle and to please call 911.

The Major Crime team is also attempting to locate a vehicle associated with the shooting: 1989 Jeep Cherokee Oregon Vehicle Plate Number ZFQ 270.

In a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Klamath County Sheriff Frank Skrah said, “Everyday the dedicated men and women of the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office go out to protect our community. Today is a sad day, a dedicated Sheriff’s Deputy was shot in the face and side during a vehicle stop. Fortunately, he is stable at this time and has been transported to Oregon Health Sciences University. The family of the injured Deputy and the employees of the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office want to thank all the members of the Major Crime Team and all public safety agencies in Klamath County. The Deputy is supported by the brotherhood of the law enforcement community that have come to assist in locating the suspect. I’d like to thank the Jackson, Modoc, and Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Offices, California Highway Patrol, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, Federal Marshall Service, and Air Medical Services (Emergency Airlift).” 

Any information or tips regarding this investigation should be routed to the Klamath Falls Police Department tip line at 541-883-5334.

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MEDFORD, Ore. – Wildfires are still burning in our area more than a month after most of the big ones started.

The Oregon Gulch Fire and the Rogue River Drive Fire are now 100 percent contained.  However, Oregon Department of Forestry crews are still monitoring the area.  They are through the fires on a daily basis searching for hot spots, and if they find any, they put them out.

Fire officials said they will continue to do this until the entire fire appears to be put out, and that will not happen until the fall rains come, at the earliest.

“We feel comfortable that there won’t be any further problems from any of those fires in the future, but we always like to have people keeping an eye on them,” said Brian Ballou, Fire Prevention Specialist with the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Currently, fuel moisture levels remain unchanged, and as long as it stays hot and dry, fire danger levels will remain at extreme.

online schoolMEDFORD, Ore. — Kids are returning to school, but that does not always mean a return to the classroom.

More students are going to school entirely online from their homes.  The Oregon Connections Academy is one online school offering classes k-12.  Students get their textbooks shipped to them and lesson plans emailed throughout the course of each semester.

“I’m glad I get to use the computer and see what I can do, unlike at my old schools where I didn’t know what I was going to do,” said Megan Wiers, a 6th grader at the Oregon Connections Academy.

In 2005, the first year Oregon Connections was offered, there were 650 students enrolled.   This year there are more than 3,700 Oregon students in the program.

theo curtis(CNN) — After nearly two years in captivity, an American journalist is home and speaking out. Peter Theo Curtis said he’s overwhelmed with emotion.

Curtis was held for nearly two years by an Al-Qaeda linked group in Syria, but was handed over by UN peacekeepers over the weekend. He’s now back in his Massachusetts home and appearing in front of cameras.

Psychologists said this could be a good sign for now. “What, unfortunately, we don’t see often is what happens weeks and months and years later, and that’s when the emotional turmoil begins,” said Harry Croft, a former Army doctor and psychiatrist.

Law enforcement sources said the US was not involved in negotiations to free Curtis, but was aware of the private efforts to secure the release.

brammoTALENT, Ore. — Oregon Senator Ron Wyden said he wants lawmakers to show support for alternative energy and electric vehicles, and is using a local company as an example of why.

Wyden toured the Brammo headquarters in Talent on Wednesday. The electric motorcycle manufacturer expanded into the former Walmart building late last year.

Wyden got a look at several models the company has built, and saw some of the new innovations in electric vehicle technology.

He also praised Brammo for employing dozens of people in the Rogue Valley.

“When it comes to creating jobs, particularly jobs that can support a family, Brammo is starting to move into the fast lane,” Wyden said.

Wyden said he hopes to extend federal tax credits for electric vehicles, to make it easier for consumers to buy them.

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ASHLAND, Ore. – Local breweries are getting national attention, after Oregon was selected as having the best beer in America.

The list was put together by the web site Thrillist.

The web site listed top breweries from across the state, including Southern Oregon Brewing, Rogue, Deschutes, and Full Sail, and it said no matter where you go in Oregon, you find a quality brewery.

Local breweries in southern Oregon said they are seeing the benefits of an increased national presence. Caldera is selling its beer across the country, and hopes to continue to expand around the world.

They and other smaller local breweries have also seen more people from other parts of the U.S. stop in to local tap rooms looking to try beer brewed in the Rogue Valley.

“We just had a couple of guys in here from New Jersey and they specifically stopped here because they had to try Caldera beer,” said Caldera brewer Adam Benson. “So there’s tourists that come through specifically to taste the beer of Oregon.”

California was ranked second in the list. Washington was ranked fifth.

Local breweries said the increased interest in Oregon beer has also resulted in an economic benefit in the state. According to the most recent data, more than 5,000 people were employed in the craft brewing industry in Oregon last year.

kfalls shooting

[UPDATE 3:15 PM] The Klamath County Sheriff’s Deputy is in stable but critical condition and is being airlifted to Oregon Health and Science University in Portland for treatment.

Mazama High School, Triad School, Peterson Elementary and Orson Stearns School are all out of lock down procedures. Teachers and staff are safe.

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — The Klamath County District Attorney is releasing information on the shooting in Klamath Falls.. A Klamath County Sheriff’s Office Deputy was conducting a traffic stop on Bisbee St. at 11:34 a.m. when he was shot in the face and side. The Deputy has been transported to Sky Lakes Medical Center and at this time is in stable condition.

The Klamath County Major Crime has been activated and the investigation is on going. The suspect is still at large and considered armed and dangerous. The public is warned not to approach the vehicle and to please call 911.

The vehicle containing the suspect is believed to driving a Black 1989 Jeep Cherokee Oregon Vehicle Plate Number ZFQ 270. Any information or tips regarding this investigation should be routed to the Klamath Falls Police Department tip line at 541-883-5334.

The Klamath County Major Crime Team is comprised of the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office, Klamath Falls Police Department, Oregon State Police, Klamath County Community Corrections, and Klamath County District Attorney’s Office.

rgo hot noteMEDFORD, Ore. — The Oregon Gulch Fire and Rogue River Drive Fire are still burning but are 100 percent contained.

Oregon Department of Forestry crews are still patrolling the areas daily, searching for any leftover hot spots.

Brian Ballou with ODF said there is a good chance these fires won’t be out completely until the fall rains.

Tonight on NewsWatch 12, find out how many hot spots are still a concern for fire fighters.

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