Slash Burns Elicit 911 calls; Exploding Whale Anniversary; Exploding Whale Anniversary; One More Coronavirus Case For Florence

Slash Burns Elicit 911 calls

With the recent fires around the state and including Mapleton, smoke and fire can quickly cause fear in residents, such has been the case recently as forest land owners begin the fall process of slash pile burning.  Chet Behling with the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Lane County District says 911 operators have received numerous calls over the past several days.  Behling says that while ODF itself is not participating in any of these burns, they are still done with the utmost of caution.  He wanted residents to be aware that over the next two days, and for the next several weeks there will likely be the presence of smoke from these burns.  According to Behling there is enough moisture in the ground and conditions are good for burning.

“We are also looking for good weather conditions where the air mixing height is really high so it wont impact the local residents there, at least that’s our goal.”

Behling says that with the high winds expected on Friday you may even see some high flames from these burn piles, but not to be alarmed, and do not call 911.

“It’s important that they not call 911 unless it is an emergency and we do not want to overflow 911 with some of these calls with the idea that someone might have a medical emergency.”

Exploding Whale Anniversary

It is the event that put Florence on the map according to many sources reporting the day the Whale was detonated on the beach near driftwood shores 50 years ago today.  KVAL newsman Paul Linneman was there on scene when thing did not go as expected.

“It had been so long since a whale had washed up in Lane County, nobody could remember how to get rid of one.  In selecting it’s battle plan the highway division decided the carcass couldn’t be buried because it might soon be uncovered, it couldn’t be cut up and buried because no one wanted to cut it up and it couldn’t be burned so dynamite it was some 20 cases or a half ton of it.”

As a result of the explosion there were whale parts over a quarter mile away and even some vehicles were damaged as pieces of the whale came back to earth.  And as the saying goes, the rest is history.  Were a whale to wash up on shore today?  Let’s hope we have learned from the past.

High Wind Watch

The national weather service has issued a high wind watch for Florence northward, beginning at midnight tonight through 1 pm tomorrow.  The strongest winds will be at the headlands and beaches and could reach up to 65 mph.  Winds could affect power lines and high profile vehicles and cause downed trees.

One More Coronavirus Case For Florence

Another COVID-19 Case has been added to the 97439 zip code bringing the total to 37.  It comes on a day when Lane County reported another 51 new cases.  There are also 17 individuals now hospitalized in Lane County due to the virus.  Statewide there are 160 persons hospitalized and the situation is putting some stress on staffing across the state.  Jason Davis with Lane County Public Health recently told Coast Radio News that anything above 10 cases in the county begins to cause concern in that resources used for COVID-19 patients takes away from other emergencies that hospitals experience.  Currently in Florence Peace Harbor has developed a contingency plan for using hospital beds for COVID-19 patients, but CAO Jason Hawkins says currently Eugene hospitals are able to handle both patients from the valley and from the coast.  Lane County cases according to LCPH reports are still centered around the 20-29 age group and many of those cases do not require hospitalization.  Yesterday in Oregon 876 new cases were reported bringing the total to 52,770 and 5 new deaths raise that total to 742.  Four of the 5 deaths were from individuals that had underlying health conditions, the 5th is still being investigated.  Multnomah County had a one day total of 298 cases reported.