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CAVE JUNCTION, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Forestry, Illinois Valley Fire and Rural Metro are battling flames in the Reeves Creek Fire, and trying to keep it from spreading past it’s current 230 acres. Several helicopters dipped into Lake Selmac, dumping water on the flames. Fire crews say the fire is burning in a bowl-like area between highway 199 and Reeves Creek Road. The few hand crews which are on this fire have gained 90 percent containment.

Fire crews are making progress on the Reeves Creek Fire but remain cautious as they work towards containment.

On Tuesday night, fire officials asked residents living near the fire to be cautious as well, issuing a level one evacuation on a Wild Park Lane, and residents say they will be ready to go if they need to be.

dispensary effects

TALENT, Ore — A medical marijuana dispensary focused on “going green” is up and running in the Rogue Valley. For the last five weeks, Talent Health club has been working with patients at their store on South Pacific Highway.

The shop is one of three Rogue Valley dispensaries with city and state certification that are open, but owners say they are the only one with “Clean Green certification.”

Clean Green is a review program that credits the shop for offering products that have been treated with only the use of natural, non-synthetic sprays and fertilizers.

“It’s a certified farm that we’re working with, with certified procedures that are being carried through all the way until the sales are taking place. and it’s important that certain steps aren’t getting missed along the way,” said Jamin Giersbach, Talent Health Club’s Owner.

While only some of the stock is Clean Green certified, owners say the products have been popular among patients, and they hope farmers they work with consider growing a more natural marijuana.

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CENTRAL POINT, Ore –Oregon Department of Forestry Dispatch center tracks the lightning storms all over Southern Oregon and Northern California from a room in Central Point.

Dispatchers use a variety of computer weather programs to plot and map the strikes. That information is used to compare to strikes and fires seen by field teams, lookouts, and those called into the dispatch center. All the information is put together so crews can be sent to potential fires as soon as possible. Those who work at the dispatch center say lightning and fires are unpredictable, and fire officials rely on dispatch to make quick and efficient decisions.

“During lightning events we get a lot of reports from our lookouts and detection aircraft, and basically everyone reports to dispatch, and then dispatch plots it and figures out where the smoke report is and sends the appropriate response,” said ODF Dispatch Supervisor.

Dispatch workers also prioritize what fires get the most resources, and sometimes work extended shifts when lightning is expected.

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Medford, Ore – A thunderstorm packing heavy rain passed through Ashland at about 8:30pm Tuesday night. Two lighting started fires are being investigated. One of the fires is near the reservoir and the other is on Mt. Ashland. The storm is moving out of the Ashland area.

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WEATHER DISCUSSION

Tuesday has proved to be a very active day, as predicted.  The area saw over one hundred lightning strikes Tuesday afternoon and evening.  Not only that, but trees were downed in Ashland, and further northeast, hail half an inch in diameter fell near Chemult, blanketing the ground.  Ashland did see some measurable rainfall – somewhere between 0.20 and 0.40 inches.  Tuesday afternoon, temperatures soared, yet again, back into the triple digits.  Medford saw its eleventh day at or above 100.  If temperatures don’t take a drop soon (which is not expected), this is on track to be one of the hottest July’s on record in the Rogue Valley.

The lightning strikes Tuesday afternoon were mainly contained to Siskiyou County and the Klamath Basin, but a few storms skirted part of the Rogue Valley.  Just south of Ashland, several lightning strikes occurred to the south and east of the city, but that’s as far north as the storms crept into Jackson County.  As far as temperatures are concerned, Medford’s official high was 104.  The high heat and lightning strikes aren’t helping the fire fighting efforts in southern Oregon.  Because of this, another red flag warning is in effect Wednesday afternoon from 2 PM until 11 PM.

Thunderstorm activity Wednesday will be more isolated than that of Tuesday.  However, that doesn’t exclude Jackson County from the risk.  The coverage area for storms includes portions of the Rogue Valley, northern California, and the Klamath Basin…those of the same locations are under the red flag warning.  A storm or two could travel over the Siskiyous and into Jackson County, as was the case Tuesday afternoon.  There appears to be an end in sight for all of the thunderstorms, though. By next Tuesday, it looks like all locations will be dry with mostly sunny skies.  However, the heat sticks around…highs will be in the upper 90′s throughout the next seven days.

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

Chief Meteorologist Kate McKenna

Pete SedaASHLAND, Ore.– An Ashland based non-profit, believed to have ties to terrorism, was convicted in court, Tuesday. Haramain Islamic Foundation pleaded guilty in district court.

The conviction is for filing a false tax return with the IRS. The conviction stems back from a 150,000 dollar donation moved through the foundation to it’s parent organization in Saudi Arabia, and then on to Chechneya.

In return for the plea, criminal charges against Pete Seda, the head of the Ashland non-profit, were dismissed and Haramain Islamic Foundation is on a three year probation.

The IRS, FBI, and Homeland Security are looking for another defendant who is considered a fugitive.

 

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MEDFORD, Ore. -  Two years ago, Ashland’s Steen Fredrickson and North Medford’s Colton Westfall were coming off their freshman years. Coming off his sophomore year was Cascade Christian’s Isaiah Luzny. Fredrickson was a flame thrower with a sharp curve, Westfall a horse that could get you out with several different pitches and Luzny a crafty lefty whose small frame belied his ability to dominate hitters, but all three had the makings of an ace, and each became number one on their high school teams, but on the Mustangs, each fell into different roles.

“They’ve accepted new roles with maybe not starting, maybe coming in and closing, maybe coming in for two innings, and so every single one has done that,” Mustangs pitching coach Paul White said.
“Through tryouts, coming out on the field, seeing those 24 guys that were there and knowing how many of them pitched. I think when they asked who pitched, 21 of them raised their hands,” Fredrickson said. “To know that, it wasn’t hard to accept my role at all.”

And that’s perhaps a change in the three hurlers compared to their first year with the team.

“It was a little bit frustrating to me because I wasn’t used to it,” Luzny said. “I was used to always starting, but I think it’s more of a mature thing, like once you get older, you just learn to accept the role you have.”

All three players agree that for them the biggest difference between 2012 and 2014 is that “M-word.”

“I got way more mature,” Westfall said. “I got way more mature, now knowing about baseball pitching, just pitching-wise.”
“Before, when I’m a young guy, I’m just sitting on the bench,” Luzny said. “I’m just watching and cheering and having fun. Even if we lose, I’m like, ‘Oh, okay. Whatever,’ but as an older guy, it’s more a mature thing and you’re always in the game.”

wildfire stock photoWASHINGTON D.C., Wash– Oregon, Washington, and California Governors are teaming up to call for more wildfire support. They are pushing for the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act.

It will give the U.S. Forest Service access to emergency funding for suppression and other programs aimed at reducing wildfire risks. The governors said right now the Forest Service does not have emergency funds to pay for fighting wildfires.

The Department of Interior estimates an additional $470 million dollars will be spent on efforts this year, than the department has. They said in the last two fiscal years, the Forest Service had to use more than one billion dollars from other agencies to fight wildfires. These often come from programs aimed at reducing wildfire risks.

The Governors said The Wildfire Disaster Fund Act would ensure there is enough money to target wildfire efforts rather than borrow from another disaster account.

 

 

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[UPDATE: 6:52p.m.] South Central Oregon Fire Management leaders said fire crews are being pulled off the fire lines because of lighting. They said as soon as the situation becomes safe again, the crews will move back in. Fire Management officials said they don’t expect it to grow too much more at this time. There is a solid line around the fire. Acres burning are still around 100.

FOUR MILE LAKE, Ore. — Two helicopters made dozens of drops Tuesday morning as the Launch Fire burns more than a hundred acres. The fire is burning just on the other side of Four Mile Lake’s campsites.

“When we first got here, we started setting up camp and then a helicopter landed right out here out in front of us, started sucking up water. So, we got a real good view of that!” said Mickey Bender as he took in the view from his campsite.

While campers were on standby for evacuations Tuesday morning, Mary Lou Zielinski went for early swim.

“It’s exciting, I could see it much better from the middle of the lake,” said Zielinski.

Zielinski said she frequents the lake and typically is the only swimmer. Tuesday she took in the action while treading water.

“The smoke was burning really badly and the trees. You could see some fire coming up from the trees,” said Zielinski.

The cause of the fire is officially undetermined, although some campers believe it to be human caused after seeing a campfire in that area the night before the fire was reported. Fire crews and resources have to be escorted by boat to the fire, passing fisherman Jim Fuller along the way.

“The amount of devastation showing here from what the little bit of fire has done. But, it’s absolutely amazing watching these helicopter guys work,” said Fuller.

While the firefight will continue, use of the lake by visitors will not. Evacuations are now in place until it is safe to return.

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SELMA, Ore. – Crews continued to battle a large wildfire burning near Lake Selmac on Tuesday, but told homeowners to be ready to leave if the situation gets worse.

The Reeves Creek Fire was first reported Monday night, and has burned about 230 acres in an area near Reeves Creek Road and Highway 199. No homes have been burned, but crews have given level 1 evacuation notices to people living on Wild Park Drive, telling them to prepare to go if the fire grows.

According to Brian Ballou with the Oregon Department of Forestry, the fire burned into a “bowl” area between hills, and crews are using helicopters and airplanes to drop water and fire retardant on the flames. Once conditions cool down, hand crews will use bulldozers to build fire lines around more of the fire. As of Tuesday afternoon, there are fire lines around 70 percent of the fire, and the fire is about 20 percent contained.

“The first step is to finish the fire line. Second step is to mop in a little ways to totally extinguish a black line, a ring, around the inside of the fire line,” Ballou said.

Fire crews will be watching the weather forecast over the next few days, to see if winds pick up in the region. If they do, they could begin to spread the fire in different directions.

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