Burn and Learn; COVID-19 Update; Gas Prices; Graduation Moves Indoors

Burn and Learn

New firefighters will practice their skills live on Saturday, June 12, between 9 am and 5 pm. Exercises, which will be conducted north of Florence on Meares Street, will be closely monitored by instructors, and residents may notice smoke as well as a large number of fire vehicles in the area. Nearby residents will be contacted directly and given information about the exercise. Fire and EMS Chief Michael Schick says live fire exercises are very important in training especially since the incidents of actual fires are down. He says so few actual fires are seen anymore that a lot of our younger people and even some of our more experienced people don’t get the chance to work a fire.

”To actually have a house where you can set small controlled fires, it just gives them the opportunity to see something they might see on an actual call.”

Western Lane Fire and EMS Authority–a coalition of the Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue and Western Lane Ambulance District–responds to an average of 3,800 calls per year, but very few are fires. Anyone with questions about the exercise should call the fire department at 541-997-3212.

COVID-19 Update

Lane County reported 23 new coronavirus cases yesterday including one more for the Florence Area.  Cases are at their lowest level since early March according to Lane County Public Health numbers.  The Oregon Health Authority is still reporting that about 93,000 individuals still need to be vaccinated in order to reach the goal of 70%.  Upon doing so Governor Kate Brown will lift restrictions and completely reopen the Oregon economy.  Many local businesses, while experiencing a steady stream of customers are still trying to maneuver through the ever changing landscape of regulations regarding the pandemic.  Mask restrictions are still in place unless a business has a way of determining vaccination records on customers and with limited staff available it is not a viable option for many local establishments.


In other covid news the incidents of hospitalizations continues to be a roller coaster with nine more individuals hospitalized yesterday.  41 of those patients are in intensive care at this point.  In addition 10 more people died from complications associated with the coronavirus yesterday.  The state also says it is averaging about 15,000 doses per day of the 3 different vaccines available.

Gas Prices

It has been a week of small changes at the pump according to AAA Oregon’s Marie Dodds.  She says that Oregon has seen a 2 cent increase in the past 7 days and the average price of a gallon of regular gas in Oregon now stands at $3.45.  here in Florence the average is a bit lower at $3.23 a gallon.  Dodds says demand fell and supply increased after the Memorial weekend.  Prices will continue to fluctuate as crude oil prices, which account for about 50% of fuel prices, continues to sell at its highest level in more than 2 years.

Graduation Moves Indoors

This evening’s graduation at Siuslaw high school has been moved indoors due to inclement weather.  Originally the processional was set to be on the football field but storms predicted around the area forced the event inside.  Due to covid restrictions there will still only be immediate family allowed in the gym.  The event is at 7 pm and KCST will broadcast the graduation live beginning at 6:45 and will simulcast it with a live video feed on the coast radio Facebook page.