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Last update: Thurs., May 9th, 2013
CRFD'S Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2013-2014
The 2013-2014 Proposed Budget has been submitted to the Board by the Budget Committee for sunshining to the public together with the Notice of Public Hearing on May 10th, 2013, to discuss the Proposed Budget.
Both of these documents are, as of Thursday, May 9th, 2013, posted here on our website and can be accessed from our Budget page.
Wildland Fire Risk Potential for 2013:
The US Forest Service has released a map of the Wildland Fire Risk Potential for 2013 with the areas of greatest risk in color-coded format. It can be viewed on the NFPA's (National Fire Protection Assn.) site blog at: http://wildfire.blog.nfpa.org/oregon/.
Extensive portions of California, particularly much of the northern California region, as well as southwestern Oregon, much of Idaho and eastern Nevada, and western Utah are in the 4 percent red "Very High" risk zone, intermingled with the 8 percent "High" risk potential zone. (Scroll down the page about one-third.) This site also has lots of other timely news and useful wildland and other fire safety information, including a graphically depicted "sweet spot" zone for wildland rural-interface residents when taking wildfire risk factors into consideration - well worth checking out.
The Spring, 2013, Firebrand is out:
The Fri. April 26th, 2013, edition of the Mail Tribune contained (the) "Firebrand," a small newspaper insert with some great fire prevention information. This edition has really useful, timely articles:
In case you missed it, you can check it out on the RVFPC website at http://www.rvfpc.com. (Look under the right-hand navigation column, & scroll down to "Firebrand Newsletter").
A printed copy is also available upon request by:
The Firebrand is published by the Rogue Valley Fire Prevention Cooperative, a non-profit group of fire prevention organizations based in southern Oregon, and "supports the mission of the RVFPC, and the outreach and education action items in the Jackson County Integrated Fire Plan... [a]rticles also highlight projects that protect homes and wildlands from wildfire, and promote healthy, productive wildland environments. // The Firebrand also supports emergency preparedness for families, pets and livestock, and provides information about preventing fires inside the home."
"State predicts hotter, drier summer than most":
Paul Fattig's article in the Thurs. April 11, 2013, edition of the (Medford) Mail Tribune tells us what we already know or intuit:
ODF's Brian Ballou is quoted: "The forecast is for a much drier summer than we have been in for the last few years... We will likely have an earlier fire season than we have had for a while."
Lightning is expected to be a wild card as far as large fires go, but the potential for fire in general will be greater than normal: "The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, the nation's support center for wildland firefighting, predicts that significant fire potential will increase to above normal for the Northwest and Northern California in June and July."
Locally, despite a good start last fall on the water year since September 1st that has left us with an above-average level to date, early 2013 reflects more of the El Niño pattern anticipated this past winter, with the result that "the first three months of the year were the driest on record," surpassing the record for this period set in 1992.
The ODF and the U.S. Forest Service are already preparing for a potentially active fire season: "ODF will have a fire-retardant bomber stationed at the Medford airport again this fire season, Ballou said. Helicopters will be based also in Medford and Merlin" and other firefighting resources will be available "at the same levels as last year."
However, lightning notwithstanding, the ODF is emphasizing prevention before these resources become necessary. In particular, "residents in rural areas" need to take action now, ahead of fire season, to "reduce grass, weeds and brush around structures to decrease the threat should a wildfire come their way this summer."
You can (and should) read the article in its entirety on the Mail Tribune's website at:
or copy & paste the following link into your browser:
(The Mail Tribune's website allows non-subscribers access to 3 articles per month.)
2013 Firefighter Training:
Training is in progress, but we are still in serious need of more (and newer) firefighters, first responders, and people who can serve in various auxiliary support capacities, as our valley community grows and as some older or longer-serving volunteers have retired from active-duty firefighting.
This year's fire season also promises, based on recent water/moisture level assessments, to be an "interesting" fire season [see articles below] and we're really going to need everyone possible.
If you are a local resident or property owner and wish to participate or if you have considered joining us even if you aren't sure or have questions, contact (Fire Chief) Steve Avgeris. Also see our Training page for info/details.
An upcoming First Responder) re-certification training opportunity is also in the works for all current EMRs (first responders) as well as first-timers who may be interested to join our emergency medical response crew. Starting this August, Amy Stacher of CalFire will be teaching an EMT class in Etna, CA, through The College of the Siskiyous. Details.
Late February 2013 readings at Mt. Ashland sites show below-normal snowpack and water content levels:
Paul Fattig's February 28th, 2013, article headline in the Mail Tribune states that "February snowpack readings show drop at upper elevations: But some mid-elevation sites are above normal":
"U.S. Forest Service snow ranger Steve Johnson's snow-survey trek up Mount Ashland on Wednesday revealed above-normal snow at the lower elevation site but below-normal amounts for the three higher-elevation snow survey areas for the end of February.
"...the snow level at the Siskiyou Summit site, 4,600 feet above sea level, was 143 percent of normal with the snow at 27 inches. The all-important water content, reflecting how much moisture is available in the snowpack for summer stream flows and irrigation, is 8.7 inches, or 161 percent of normal.
However, "Johnson found only 48 inches of snow at the Ski Bowl Road site, at 6,000 feet elevation on Mount Ashland, for 75 percent of normal. The snow water content was 16 inches, or 76 percent of normal.
"At the 6,500-foot level, the Mount Ashland Switchback site had 64 inches of snow, which is 80 percent of average. The water content was 23.8 inches, making it 86 percent of normal.
"The Caliban II site, also at 6,500 feet, contained 64 inches of snow for 86 percent of normal. The water content at that site was 23.8 inches, or 94 percent of normal."
For the full article, see February snowpack readings show drop at upper elevations. (The Mail Tribune's website allows non-subscribers access to 3 articles per month.)
Free Health Seminar: “Understanding Cholesterol”
For those interested: “Join James Cook, M.D., cardiologist, for a discussion about simple steps to a healthier heart,” on Thursday, May 23rd, 6:00 to 7:30 PM at the Medford Library, 205 S. Central Ave., Medford (downtown). Sponsored by the Providence Medford Medical Center. To register, call 541-732-6237.
For the latest wildfire and smoke updates, see www.inciweb.org.
REMINDER: Be vigilant during and after lightning storms - call in any fires or suspicious smoke. Rapid response is crucial - WE are all fire watchers here. Our valley's protection depends upon us. Thanks to everyone for participating.
For those who may have missed it, check out this commentary on defensible
space as a crucial strategy for lessening your vulnerability in a wildfire:
Will you be doing any landscaping on your property? Check out the OSU Extension Service's brochure, "Fire-Resistant Plants for Oregon Home Landscapes," available online, and from Jackson County's OSU partnership office, the Southern Oregon Research & Extension Center (SOREC), at 569 Hanley Road, Central Point OR 97503; Phone: (541) 776-7371 Fax: (541) 773-7373; Office Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm.
HELP WITH FUEL REDUCTION
Next Board Meeting:
Friday, May 10th, 2013, at 6:00 PM
at the Hilt Community Church.
The agenda will be posted here prior to the meeting.
Want to know what's happening? Read the Board Minutes! Limited archives also available.
Planned Community Wildfire Meetings are part of countywide wildfire protection. Discussion topics include information you need to live safely in wildfire country, the fire planning process, how your neighborhood can be more wildfire safe, and meeting your local fire service providers. Representatives from local Jackson County Fire Districts, Oregon Department of Forestry, Rogue River/Siskiyou National Forest, and Medford BLM attend these meetings.
For information about any currently planned community meetings, contact:
Randy Iverson, Fire Chief Jackson County Fire District #3 (541) 826-7100
Brian Ballou, Fire Prevention Specialist, Oregon Dept. of Forestry (541) 664-3328
Neil Benson, Jackson County Integrated Fire Plan (541) 482-4682
Chris Chambers, Wildfire Fuels Reduction Coordinator, Ashland Fire & Rescue (541) 552-206
ODF's September, 2005, News bulletin as a pdf file.
(This requires Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher, FREE if you need to download it.)
The WEST WIDE ENERGY CORRIDOR DPEIS [Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement]:
UPDATE: In August, 2008, the BLM's Medford district office published a "Record of Decision and Resource Management Plan" for the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument which includes information indicating that the energy corridor under discussion has been sited near the Klamath area and to the east of Ashland instead of running through our valley. Copies of this document are available from the BLM at its Medford District Office, 3040 Biddle Rd., Medford, OR., 97504.
The following concerns CRFD's position on the federal West-wide Energy Corridor DPEIS (Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement), concerning the 3,500-foot wide power corridor that could have run directly through our district. The public comment period on the draft plans ended on February 14th, 2008.
At the January, 2008, Board meeting, Lisa [Buttrey] provided the Board with background information and maps, pointed out issues of concern, and suggested talking points about this project.
The law allowing for the creation of this project was passed in 2005; the plan itself was released in mid-November of 2007. The plan is to have a 2/3rds-mile-wide pipeline/power-line corridor in the Valley. A number of these corridors are proposed throughout the west to handle the power sources (propane, gas, etc.) that is needed to keep up with increasing fuel needs in the country.
After discussion at the January meeting, the Board took the position that this area is not the best to locate this project. Not only are there environmental and geological concerns, but also the financial costs of going through the Siskiyou Mountains would be astronomical. Areas of eastern Oregon, which are flat and uninhabited, would be a far better place to locate the project.
The Board passed a motion directing the fire district, as the local agency, to send a letter outlining these concerns, as the project is currently proposed. Peggy Moore, as the Board Chair, was appointed to write the letter on behalf of the District.
The CRFD's letter in response to the West Wide Energy Corridor DPEIS follows:
January 20, 2008
West-wide Energy Corridor D[P]EIS
9700 S Cass Avenue – Bldg 900, Mail Stop 4
Argonne, IL 60439
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At our January 18th Board of Directors meeting, we passed a unanimous motion to provide written comments on the proposed Corridor (#4-247) through the Siskiyou Crest from Oregon into California. As the fire protection agency that is responsible for this area (for both fire and emergency medical) we STRONGLY oppose locating the corridor in this area.
There are a variety of reasons for our concerns but we believe the environmental, geological and financial arguments are the most salient and deserve your focused attention.
. The Colestin Valley and Siskiyou Pass area are well known as unstable in terms of their geology. Siskiyou literally means “moving mountain”. Slumps, shifts and collapses are fairly frequent in the area. As a result of one of these natural occurrences the Colestin Valley must now employ a receiver to rebroadcast telephone signals because the cable was rendered unusable by earth movement along its route.
. Interstate 5 is a vital transportation highway from Mexico to Alaska. Many of the trucks using this route on a daily basis carry toxic wastes, including nuclear waste. In addition, essential supplies of all kinds are hauled on this route day and night. Accidents happen frequently, sometimes closing the highway or rending one lane or another impassable.
. This particular stretch along Interste 5 (proposed corridor #4-247) is the longest stretch of 6% grade on the interstate system. Along with instability and bottleneck problems, the expense of putting lines across the Siskiyou Pass would be enormous. There are certainly locations in the state of Oregon that are flat, have far less interstate traffic and reside in more geologically stable environments. Areas in sparsely populated Eastern Oregon might be a consideration.
. The proposal, as we understand it, will make the Klamath River dam substation a destination for the proposed energy corridor. In doing so, you are targeting a substation connected to a dam that may soon be dismantled when court-ordered priority concerns for Klamath River salmon prevent re-licensing of Klamath River dams.
. The energy corridor segment, which is proposed for California’s Jenny Creek Falls, is a Redding BLM area of critical environmental concern.
We appreciate that when notified by many concerned citizens you moved the original 3,500 foot energy corridor out of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, but we still believe that for the reasons stated above, putting it in this region at all is a serious mistake.
We are a small, entirely volunteer fire district that, for 25 years, has provided needed fire and emergency medical services to the residents of our community. We simply do not have the resources, nor are more likely to appear, to support a crisis occasioned by a “mega” corridor .The location of our area makes it difficult (and at times impossible) for outside agencies to respond in a timely fashion.
We believe, once these facts are reviewed and the costs of locating the corridor in this area thoroughly researched that [the desirability of] finding a more geologically friendly, more cost effective and less populated traffic area will become clear.
We would be happy to provide further information to you on this matter. Thank you for your attention to our concerns and we hope that you will find a more hospitable location for this project.
Peggy A. Moore
Colestin Rural Fire District
Board of Directors
c. Chief Avgeris
The comment period ended February 14th, 2008. Thank you to all those of you who submitted your comments to the West-wide Energy Corridor D[P]EIS planners.
For further information, see the West Side Energy Corridor website:
For a more complete, easy-to-understand summary of the plan as it may affect us locally, together with issues to consider, maps, and further information, see the (PDF-format) article "West-wide Energy Corridors Routes Planned," published in the Jan.-Feb. 2008 issue of The Colestin Valley Buzz, and re-published here with publisher Lisa Buttrey's permission.
In June, 2005, the Fire Plan Committee (John Ames, Elaine Shanafelt, and Lisa Buttrey) completed and released the Colestin-Hilt Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) that was in the works for over a year. In addition to a public presentation of the main points of the plan by Committee Chair and Coordinator Lisa Buttrey at the community barbeque on Saturday, June 18th, the plan is now available in detail here on our site, through our Colestin-Hilt Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) page.
"The completed plan," according to Lisa Buttrey, "has an Intro section, a Description section, a brief 'Risks' section, and finally the meat of the document in the last section, 'The Action Plan,' followed by the 'Appendices.' "The Action Plan gives detailed ideas for things to do and calls for volunteers to do them. [We] hope to get a few 'Action' items assigned to willing takers (from outside the fire department proper!)."
The Plan has an enormous wealth of information in it, and reflects a tremendous amount of time, extensive research, many meetings with other fire agency and county officials, and hard work. The result is a document that provides a working plan of action for our community to pro-actively achieve a much better level of fire prevention and protection and disaster preparedness than we have ever known. We are also now in compliance, ahead of schedule, and coordinated with the County's new regional fire plan. Check out the Plan on our CWPP page.
Also of interest are some very interesting articles that were edited out of the final CWPP: "Geology of the Districts," a summary by local resident Russell Juncal, and according to Lisa, "very readable for all residents." The second is "Fire Regimes, Fire History and Forest Conditions in the Klamath-Siskiyou Region: An Overview and Synthesis of Knowledge, by Evan J. Frost and Rob Sweeney. Lisa states that this is "a scientific paper, quite lengthy at 59 pages, but full of info about fire history, fire regimes, suppression history, logging impact on fire, etc." A third article that was not considered part of the official plan but that is also relevant is a Homeowner's Safety Checklist from the Fire Safe Council. All of these articles are now available through our CWPP page as well.
Josephine County's Plan, by comparison: On January 18, 2006, the Oregon Dept. of Forestry announced in a press release that Josephine County's Integrated Fire Plan has been awarded statewide recognition: "Josephine County was recently chosen to receive the 2005 Partners for Disaster Resistance and Resilience Outstanding Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan. Josephine County was recognized for the collaborative planning effort that resulted in the Josephine County Integrated Fire Plan..." To learn more about how our neighboring county has prepared a fire plan that has now been recognized throughout the state of Oregon, read the full text of ODF's Josephine County Integrated Fire Plan press release (Jan. 18, 2006).
The "New & Improved Emergency Phone Tree" and Road Signage are two other developments related to our Community Wildfire Protection Plan. Read more.
After nearly a two-year wait while CDF built the engine for us, and after outfitting it with parts, our long-awaited FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)-financed structure fire engine, Engine No. 44-13,was finished and put into full-time service in the fall of 2004. It is housed at Station No. 1 at Colestin, in the center of the district. Photos and more info.
During part of the 2004 fire season, Colestin and Hilt volunteers helped staff the Hornbrook CDF Station. The proceeds from that effort enabled the Hilt Department to procure a new rescue rig (Hilt Rescue Vehicle 44-41). Photo on Vehicles page.
We need to continue to be aware of cougars near our homes. For updated details on local cougar attacks, information on cougar behavior, and safety tips for cougar encounters, see our community page.
SPECIAL NOTE: Dead deer have been found in our area, due to a virus disease. If you find one, the OR. Dept. of Fish & Wildlife requests that you report it to Steve Neimela at (541) 826-8774 x239. See our community forum page for details.