14 June 2013
Fire Conditions Approaching…
Better weather and more firefighters have slowed the spread of grassland blazes in southeastern Oregon. But, say officials, conditions in other areas of the state are becoming dryer and fire danger is rising.
Crews in Malhuer County believe they have a handle on a 20-thousand acre wind driven fire that started with a series of lightning strikes earlier this week.
Meanwhile, Oregon Department of Forestry officials on the east slope of the Cascades and in Central Oregon say they’re declaring fire season two weeks earlier than they did last year. District Forester George Ponte (PONT) in Prineville, said the Central Oregon region is in a drought condition with measurements showing only about 30-percent of the normal rainfall so far this year.
Fire restrictions on the west side of the Cascades ratchet up a notch this weekend as well. Open burning in all of Lane County will end tomorrow afternoon at four pm.
Single Vehicle Crash Kills One
A 47-year old Florence woman died early yesterday morning in a single vehicle crash on Highway 126 two miles west of Noti.
Medics said Patricia Dunning died at the scene after her east-bound 1996 Dodge Neon left the roadway, sheared off a utility pole on the driver’s side and came to rest on its side over an embankment.
Oregon State Troopers restricted travel on 126 for several hours following the 7:30 AM crash as they conducted an initial investigation. Traffic was blocked later again as utility workers replaced the broken pole.
Troopers say it’s too early to assign cause for the crash. They said Dunning was wearing safety restraints and conditions at the time were described as raining hard with wet pavement.
Chips Fly for Father’s Day
It’s Father’s Day Weekend and that has meant the sound of chain saws in Reedsport for the past 13 years.
The 14th annual Oregon Divisional Chainsaw Sculpting Championships began yesterday when three-dozen professional and semi-pro carvers from around the world fired up their saws. Each carver works in the open air with the chips flying as they work on a single-large piece that will be judged Sunday.
There are also 90-minute quick-carve events each day in which the artists create “mini-masterpieces” that are auctioned off at the end of the day.
There are plenty of other Father’s Day activities in Western Douglas County through this weekend as well… the Umpqua Discovery Center just across the street from the carving competition is offering free admission for all dads on Sunday… and fathers will be allowed to tour the Umpqua Lighthouse at Winchester Bay at no cost as well.
Munsel Creek Culvert Failure Closes Spruce for Repairs
Through traffic on Spruce Street will be blocked all next week as a contractor works on replacing a failed culvert at 12th street.
Mike Miller – “Starting work on Monday and we’re hoping that they’ll have everything wrapped up before Friday of next week.”
Florence Public Works Director Mike Miller says the culvert carries Munsel Creek beneath the street right at 12th. Because Munsel is a salmon stream the city can’t just replace the round culvert and move on…
Mike Miller – “We’re looking at the option of putting in a bridge. It’s about the same cost as a box culvert; a bottomless box culvert; a little bit more, but it avoids some of the impacts and the mitigation that’s required if we actually go into the stream. So it’s a long-term fix. It’s probably two-three years out.”
Miller says the price tag for that will be over a million dollars. Next week’s temporary culvert, for a fraction of that price, is designed to get the city through until they can find the funding for a more permanent fix… but it will restore the street to its complete width.