Fire Dangers Severe
Governor Kate Brown in a press conference yesterday says Oregon Residents should prepare for a potentially devastating fire season. Regardless of where you are in the state Brown says each family should have an emergency plan in place. According to Doug Grafe, Chief of Fire Protection for the Oregon Departmen of Forestry conditions are at their most extreme point in recent history.
“Drought conditions across Oregon are really driving the fire potential, when we looked at the map this morning 90% of the state was either in exceptional, extreme or severe drought conditions.”
Grafe added that the entire state is in some level of drought. He also said that the recent heat dome that settled over the state pushed fire conditions into what is normally a late August status. What we normally experience in the late summer months we saw in early June. Grafe expects conditions to continue throughout the season and a return to normal conditions is not forecast for the near future. Currently the largest fire in Oregon is the Bootleg Fire that has burned approximately 400,000 acres and there are more than 2000 firefighters working the blaze. The Oregon Department of Forestry is reporting winds and low relative humidity continue to fuel the fire.
Covid 19 cases continue to rise across the state. yesterday’s report from the Oregon Health Authority show significant increases in several counties including Lane County. Lane reported 42 new cases yesterday and Washington and Jackson county reported 64 and 63 respectively. As of early this morning there were 289 cases reported for the Florence area. Overall there were 777 new cases for the state. Vaccination rates continue to vary across the state and the latest numbers from the OHA do not reflect the 70% mark that was reported several weeks ago. The new numbers show 68% of Oregonians are at least partially vaccinated with 63.5 % having completed the series of doses and 4.5% in process. According to the OHA the largest percentage of new cases are coming from unvaccinated individuals. Current rates for Lane County are presented as 67.4%. the OHA has raised their overall goal to 80% and there will need to be another 408,286 individuals vaccinated to reach that goal.
Siuslaw Awards Tomorrow
Tomorrow evening at Three Rivers Casino the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Siuslaw awards. This year’s theme is Phoenix Rising symbolizing the efforts of individuals and businesses that worked hard at overcoming the pandemic. The event has been sold out. Winners of the awards will be announced that evening. One of the categories for the awards is the Pivot award for businesses that had to find new ways to keep going under the restrictions placed on them due to the pandemic. Other categories celebrate the willingness to move forward inspite of the challenges. The Brave New Business Category features 4 businesses that opened in the midst of the pandemic. We will also learn which individuals will be the First Citizen. There are 4 individuals up for that award: Lori Gates, Jody O’mara, Steve Olienyk and Bob Teterand the Future First Citizen was announced prior to the awards, Jessica South.