Monday, August 31, 2009

September is National Preparedness Month

Get Ready and Get Involved! By Rebecca Marquis, Acting Director, Ready Campaign

Being Ready starts with you! getting an Emergency Supply Kit; making a Family Emergency Plan; being information about emergencies; and getting involved in community efforts such as Citizen Corps are important steps that you need to take. September is National Preparedness Month and the perfect time to get involved in making your communities and our nation safer, stronger, and better prepared.

Federal Emergency Management Agency's grassroots preparedness initiative, Citizen Corps, supports local opportunities for communities to become engaged in preparedness and resiliency by connecting government and civic leaders, non-governmental organizations, and other community-based programs throught participation on their local Citizen Corps Council. Citizen Corps Councils support emergency operations planning, training and exercises, and volunteer opportunities which enhance community safety. Citizen Corps collaborates with 32 partners which support the mission of creating a resilient nation through successful crime prevention, emergency response and public health practices that exist in communities around the country. Here are a few examples of how you can become more involved in your community:

  • Volunteering for local law enforcement agencies through the Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) Program. VIPS volunteers conduct traffic control, crowd control, and other duties that support local law enforcement.
  • Training to become a member of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) in your area. CERT members support first responders before, during and after a disaster by providing support for preparedness awareness and using their skills to execute response protocols to assist emergency responders.
  • Joining a Neightborhood Watch group to assist with crime and terrorism prevention by working more closely with local law enforcement, and emphasizing the importance of emergency preparedness among families and homes in your neighborhood.
  • Donating time to a Medical Reserve Corps Unit through volunteering with medical and public health professionals to contribute skills and expertise throughout the year as well as during times of community need.
  • Becoming an advocate for fire safety and prevention education in the community and assisting wtih administrative duties at your local fire station through Fire Corps.
  • Getting involved with an American Red Cross Chapter by giving blood to ensure a safe supply, volunteering with your local chaper, getting trained to respond to local disasters like home fires, or making a donation to the Disaster Relief Fund.
  • Helping other community members prepare, including those individuals who are elderly or disables, non-English speaking and/or have other special needs.

All over Amercia, communities have organized Citizen Corps Councils to involve local government and non-government in emergency management planning, mitigation, response and recovery activites. You can get involved by contacting your local Council at; and you can get more information about READY by going to and

Thursday, August 27, 2009

OSHEN Hispanic Heritage Event

At this time, I am working to find Hispanic first responders who can participate in this event. Sounds like a good one.

Save the date!
OSHEN Hispanic Heritage Event
150 Years of Latino(a) Contributions in Oregon
September 15, 2009 Capitol Galleria 10:00am to 2:00pm

Oregon State Hispanic Employees’ Network is embracing the state’s sesquicentennial efforts this year and proudly celebrates 150 Years of Latino(a) Contributions in Oregon!

Event Schedule:10:00am – 11:30am

Networking, booths open and Latino(a) art on display11:30am – 12:15pm
Woodburn High School Mariachi Band performs12:15pm – 12:45pm
Dr. Marcela Mendoza speaks on 150 Years of Latino(a) Contributions in Oregon12:45pm – 1:15pm
Ballet Folklórico Tlanese performs traditional Mexican dances1:15pm – 2:00pm

Networking, booths open, and Latino(a) art on display

Keynote Speaker bio: Dr. Marcela Mendoza is an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Oregon. She has more than 20 years of experience in teaching and research. Marcela has conducted fieldwork with indigenous peoples of the South American Gran Chaco, and published extensively on the issue. She has also worked with Mexican immigrants in the American South and the Pacific Northwest. Marcela currently serves as Interim Executive Director for Centro LatinoAmericano in Eugene.

The event promises to be educational and culturally enriching. We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

CDC Leery of Estimates About Swine Flu's Toll

Filed at 4:38 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Government health officials are urging people not to panic over estimates of 90,000 people dying from swine flu this fall.

''Everything we've seen in the U.S. and everything we've seen around the world suggests we won't see that kind of number if the virus doesn't change,'' Dr. Thomas Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a C-SPAN interview taped Wednesday.

While the swine flu seems quite easy to catch, it so far hasn't been more deadly than the flu strains seen every fall and winter -- many people have only mild illness. And close genetic tracking of the new virus as it circled the globe over the last five months so far has shown no sign that it's mutating to become more virulent.

Still, the CDC has been preparing for a worst-case flu season as a precaution -- in July working from an estimate slightly more grim than one that made headlines this week -- to make sure that if the virus suddenly worsened or vaccination plans fell through, health authorities would know how to react.

On Monday the White House released a report from a group of presidential advisers that included a scenario where anywhere from 30 percent to half of the population could catch what doctors call the ''2009 H1N1'' flu, and death possibilities ranged from 30,000 to 90,000. In a regular flu season, up to 20 percent of the population is infected and 36,000 die.

''We don't think that's the most likely scenario,'' CDC flu specialist Dr. Anne Schuchat said of the presidential advisers' high-end tally.

What's really expected this year? CDC won't speculate, finding a numbers game pointless as it tries to balance getting a largely complacent public to listen to its flu instructions without hyping the threat.

Along with how the virus itself continues to act, the ultimate toll depends on such things as vaccinations beginning as planned -- currently set for mid-October -- and whether the people who need them most get them. CDC also is working to help hospitals keep the not-so-sick from crowding emergency rooms and to properly target anti-flu drugs to the most vulnerable.

What is likely: A busy flu season that starts earlier than usual, Schuchat told The Associated Press. This new H1N1 strain never went away over the summer, infecting children at summer camps in particular. Already clusters of illnesses are being reported at some schools and colleges around the country,

Don't lose your money

For those of you who receive Federal Benefit checks or other pension checks, I'll bet you never thought of this one. Disasters affect every aspect of our lives.

For example:

Each year, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Bank encourage people who receive federal benefit checks to sign up for direct deposit. For those who depend on the mail for their Social Security benefits, a difficult situation can become worse if they are evacuated or lose their mail service - as 85,000 check recipients learned after Hurricane Katrina. Switching to electronic payment is one simple, significant way people can protect themselves before disaster strikes. It also eliminates the risk of stolen checks. More information, including the Go Direct Disaster Preparedness Toolkit is available ta

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ready Campaign for children - National Preparedness Month - September

By Rebecca Marquis, Acting Dirctor, Ready Campaign

While you may think you have everything you need in the event of an emergency on hand and could wing it on the fly, you might not be as prepared as you think. You are your family's first responder, so you need to proactively prepare for emergencies . Local, state and national authorities are going to help, but they may not be able to get to you right away.

September is National Preparedness Month, which is a great time to get your family Ready. Preparedness goes beyond fire alarms, smoke detectors, dead-bolt locks and extra food in the pantry. The Ready Campaign has made it easy with four simple steps: get an Emergency Supply Kit; make a Family Emergency Plan; be informed about emergencies and their appropriate responses; and get involved in community efforts.

To help get your family starte, Ready Kids is a family-friendly tool to help parents and teachers educate children, ages 8 - 12 about emergencies and how they can help families better prepare. The Ready Kids Web site at features fun activities such as a Scavenger Hunt, Pack It Up Matching game, crossword puzzles and coloring pages, as well as age-appropriate, step-by-step instructions on what families can do to better prepare for emergencies and the role kids can play in that effort.

The Ready Campaign consulted with a number of organizations experienced in education and children's health to develp Ready Kids, and their expertise helped present the emergency preparedness information included in the Ready Kids program in a way that is understandable and approprate for children.

It's important to address this topic and explain to your children that families can prepare for emergencies before they take place and that they can help, too. By doing so, you can alleviate anxiety if an emergency does occur and help to nurture a more prepared society for generations to come. Visit today and get Ready!

Monday, August 24, 2009

H1N1 Swine Flu

H1N1 or what most of us know as the Swine Flu can be very serious. It is a different strain than we normally have and affects a different age group (6 - 49) mostly. Flu is unpredictable in nature but prevention is always the best line of defense.

Oregon Emergency Management wants you to take this seriously, however we want to give you some information that may relieve your minds and help you to get through this season safely.

First - get your regular seasonal flu shot. This is not for H1N1 but will cover you for 3 other strains that may show up this winter. There is no better proven method than to get vaccinated.

Next, if you are in the at risk group for H1N1, you will need to get 2 shots a few weeks apart. Information can be found at on who will be the priority groups for those shots.

The flu is a set of symtoms: respiratory, fever, headache, cough, sore throat, muscle aches. It can put you in bed for 7 - 10 days and the cough and fatique can last for a month or more.

Incubation of the flu is 1-3 days. You can spread it before you know you have it. Wash your hands, keep your distance.

The flu is spread by droplets. H1N1 has large, heavy droplets that fall to the ground within 3 feet. The droplets are also larger than normal. So - keep your distance, cover your cough with you sleeve or as my mom taught me - cough and sneeze down into your shirt.

Why should we worry about H1N1 when we have flu every year? First - it has rapidly spread already so is out there. Second, it affects younger people (under 50) which is unusual and lastly its severity is difficult to predict. Most deaths have been in the 25 to 49 age group. Seasonal flu affects the elderly, the very young and those with compromised immune systems.

H1N1 could fizzle out and not be a problem or it could be severe and last for 1 or 2 years. We just don't know.

Currently, there are more cases than normal across the world in 170 countries. The vaccine should be available shortly.

Dr Goldberg, Director Oregon Dept. of Human Services says preparedness is a team sport.
but the best I've heard is from Gen. Caldwell of the Oregon Military Dept. He says if it's wet and it's not yours, don't touch it.

Please be careful. Let's nip this in the bud by keeping our distance, washing our hands regularly and using antibacterial waterless hand cleanser, COVER your cough. If you don't feel well, stay home! We can help stop the spread if we all work together. Thanks

Friday, August 21, 2009

Oregon Preparing for H1N1

Today there was a statewide summit by Governor Kulongsoki about the H1N1 threat to the state of Oregon. More than 800 people attended from private and public sectors, including representatives from schools, hospitals, businesses, state and county emergency managers, and more.

The H1N1 flu has caused almost 500 deaths in the United States since it was discovered in March, including 11 people from Oregon. The Governor asked that every Oregonian be ready to take care of themselves and their families in case the flu gets worse as flu season starts.

The worst case scenario might be that 1 or 2 out of every 5 Oregonians could be sickened by the flu. In this case the Governor urges that if you are sick that you stay at home to prevent spreading the flu. Symptoms of the H1N1 flu are similar to the seasonal flu: high fever, cough, sore throat, chills, body aches, and fatigue. Symptoms can range from mild to severe depending upon your age, health, and other factors.

For more information,

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Speed of Social Media

Today a utility worker damaged power lines and knocked out power to a chunk of Clark County - 4800 people were without power.

What is interesting is not the power service loss - the power company will quickly restore it and everyone will soon forget - but that social media has quickly reported this phenomenon. Over three hours ago KOIN news posted on their twitter and website that power was out, and OEM's own twitter re-tweeted it. But that same news won't be reported on tv news, radio or newspaper until this evening - long after the event has happened.

There have been numerous stories about regular Internet users being able to post information during disasters at times when officials do not have the resources to collect the information fast enough. Now we see traditional media quickly reporting news via Twitter!

Ironically, as I'm writing this article I find out through CNN that there may have been a tornado in Minneapolis. NOAA reported a possible tornado, but officials are still have not positively identified the storm as a tornado - merely a severe thunderstorm.

Right now it is 3:15 PM. A quick search on twitter for the hashtag #tornadompls found the following: This was photographed by a cell phone from a car and uploaded to twitpics 2 hours ago!


Earthquakes: One of the most frightening and destructive phenomena of nature is a severe earthquake and its terrible aftereffects.

Earthquakes strike suddenly, violently, and without warning at any time of the day or night. If an earthquake occurs in a populated area, it may cause many deaths and injuries and extensive property damage.

Although there are no guarantees of safety during an earthquake, identifying potential hazards ahead of time and advance planning can save lives and significantly reduce injuries and property damage.

How can I protect myself from an earthquake?

What to do before an earthquake
What to do during an earthquake
What to do after an earthquake

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Marines did not ban social networking

Marines and Social Nets: We Goofed

Complete story here:

By Bob Brewin 08/07/09 05:27 pm ET
Despite more than 1,000 news reports to the contrary, the Marine Corps did NOT ban access to social network sites this week.

In fact, in a statement, the Marine Corps said, "Marines are encouraged to tell their stories on social networking sites, using personal accounts, remembering the importance of operational security and that they are Marines at all times."

So, how did news sites around the world, including Nextgov, erroneously report the Marines had banned access to sites such as such as Twitter, YouTube and MySpace?

The simple answer is that the collective "we" -- myself and all the other digit stained wretches who reported on the supposed ban -- were guilty of herd mentality, following and believing the Associated Press story linked above.

FEMA Encourages Personal Preparedness As Storm Activity Increases

Release Date: August 18, 2009Release Number: HQ-09-101
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- With the development of Hurricane Bill and other tropical activity, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is encouraging residents in hurricane-prone areas to take time now to develop a family disaster plan.

"The development of the season's first Atlantic hurricane is a reminder that every family needs to take steps now to prepare," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "FEMA and our local responders can't do it alone. Emergency response is a team effort, and the most important member of the national emergency response team is the public. That's why we are encouraging everyone to take a few simple steps now - like developing a family disaster plan to ensure that we are all prepared before the next storm strikes."

One of the most important steps individuals in impacted regions can take is to follow the guidance provided by local authorities. Additionally, FEMA recommends taking the following preparedness actions:

Prepare a disaster kit for your home: Stock up on non-perishable food and water to sustain you and your family for up to three days or longer. Ensure you have important papers (e.g. insurance, identification), first aid kit, a supply of prescription medicines and other specialty items in your preparedness kit. In addition, plan to have an emergency kit for your car in case you need to evacuate. While creating a disaster kit, pet owners should remember to pack the necessary items for their pets. Find more information on preparing your disaster kit at

Create an emergency plan: Know what to do if you have to evacuate. Make sure you know how to contact members of your family and have an emergency contact number for someone out of state that knows where you are in the event of an emergency.

Be informed: Know evacuation routes and listen to local authorities when asked to evacuate. Whether you live in a coastal community or inland, speak with your insurance agent now about flood insurance and review your homeowner's policy. Every state is at risk for flooding and homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. Flood insurance is a cost-effective way to financially prepare for floods. To learn more about your risk and flood insurance, visit

Learn more about preparedness by visiting
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Emergency Kits!

Don't forget! There are all sizes, types, costs...and it's easy!!!

If you want to put your own emergency kit together, here is a list of items. If you are too busy and/or lazy like me, go online and buy one. The cost ends up being about the same, they are very compact, have a greater lifespan for the water, etc. and come in the mail - no fuss, no muss.

Basic supplies:
• food, water, clean air, and life-sustaining items (meds) that you require.
• Water - one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
• Food - at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food adn a can opener if needed
• Batter-powered or hand crank radio (maybe a NOAA Weather radio) extra batteries
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• First aid kit
• Whistle to signal for help
• Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
• Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
• Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
• Local maps
• Pet food, extra water and supplies for your pet or service animal

Beyond the basics:

• Medications, eyeglasses, hearing aids, etc.
• Important documents
• matches, blankets, change of clothes
• contact information
• money

Being prepared in advance makes sense!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Atlantic Weather System May Become Hurricane

Atlantic Weather System May Become Hurricane, Planalytics Says (Bloomberg News)
By Brian K. Sullivan
Bloomberg News, August 14, 2009

Aug. 13 (Bloomberg) -- A system of thunderstorms in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa may develop into a hurricane by early next week and pose a "formidable threat" to the U.S., according to forecasting company Planalytics Inc.

The system, centered about 250 miles (402 kilometers) south of the Cape Verde islands, is moving west and has a greater than 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours, the National Hurricane Center said.

"It remains likely this storm system will represent a formidable threat to U.S. interests next week up the Atlantic seaboard" and in the Gulf of Mexico, said Jim Rouiller, a senior energy meteorologist at Planalytics in Wayne, Pennsylvania, in an e-mail. "It is premature to predict at this point in time who is at most risk."

The Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, has yet to produce a named storm this year. Conditions in the ocean are now conducive to storm formation, said another forecaster.

A tropical depression currently moving west in the Atlantic ahead of the storms off Africa will increase the chances of a hurricane occurring next week, said Mike Pigott, a meteorologist with forecaster in State College, Pennsylvania.

The depression has weakened because it has encountered dry air, and not enough of the warmer, moister air that causes the storms to strengthen, Pigott said. By sweeping that drier air away, the depression will open a path for the system off the African coast to intensify, he said.
'Major Hurricane'

"The second one, which is much larger, that is the one that could become a major hurricane, Category 3 or higher, early next week," Pigott said.

A storm reaches Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson scale when its winds are 111 miles (178 kilometers) per hour or more. Hurricane Ike, which killed 54 people and caused about $18 billion in damage, had winds of about 110 mph when it hit the Texas coast near Galveston last year.

Atlantic storms can shut down oil and gas rigs and refineries in the Gulf of Mexico and damage citrus crops in Florida, which is the world's second-largest orange producer behind Brazil. The Gulf is home to about 26 percent of all U.S. oil production.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Personal thoughts on preparedness

This week I was labeled a doomsayer. In the past I have been called Dr. Doom. I know that these are said in jest and I certainly don't mind but it does make me think that "emergency preparedness" in general is considered a negative thing.

I talk all the time about bad things that could happen but I don't want people to focus on those things. I want you to focus on being prepared in advance to handle whatever may come your way. This is a positive thing.

I almost drowned last weekend - truely. Was I expecting that to happen? - no way. But because I have trained myself to think of possible situations where I need to keep my head, I was able to be calm and do what was necessary to get to shore. I could have panicked. I could have floundered, swallowed more water and gone under. I believe I would have if I hadn't had training and experience in different scary situations.

Bad things do happen to good people but what we don't realize is that during a disaster or scary event, our brains have a tendency to shut down if they have never dealt with that situation before. Studies have shown that even thinking about what you would do in advance makes your reaction much more effective and possibly life-saving.

So that is my ramblings for today. I just really want Oregonians and everyone to be safe and healthy. I guess I'll just keep being doomtastic!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

National Preparedness Month: Get Ready Now, FEMA Says

Aug 07, 2009

National Preparedness Month will be here before you know it. But not if FEMA and its new administrator, W. Craig Fugate, have their way. A 54-second video featuring Fugate is part of the National Preparedness Month (which happens every September) outreach by FEMA using social media and the agency's Web site.

"Join the team. Become a part of the emergency management team. We don't know when the next disaster will strike. But the better prepared we are, the better we'll all do," Fugate says in the video, which is available at:

FEMA's Multimedia Web site-
Youtube -
Facebook -

NPM is sponsored by FEMA's Ready Campaign in partnership with Citizen Corps and the Advertising Council. It intent is to encourage Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, and communities. Preparedness tips and information about how to create an emergency plan and stock an emergency response kit are available at

Be Prepared for ALL types of disasters - Statesman Column

August 12, 2009
Jennifer Bailey • August 12, 2009

Though some areas are more prone to certain types of disasters, for example an earthquake in California or terrorist attacks in New York, no area on Earth is completely immune.

As much as people travel these days, you might end up somewhere in a disaster that you never considered before.

There is nothing smarter than being prepared for the unexpected.

There are two types of trauma: physical and mental. Physical trauma includes the body's response to serious injury and threat.

Studies of survivors have found that people who had thought about possible disastrous events in advance reacted faster and better than people who had not. You do not want to have to think during a disaster, you want to react appropriately and quickly.

No one wants to dwell on scary things, but planning evacuation routes out of your home and knowing where you would go is just like knowing where the exits are at the movie theater or having a smoke detector in your home.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Social Media Valuable to Arkansas During Tornado, But Questions Remain

The warning came through, loud and clear:
People in the Mena need to get to their storm shelters now to take safety measures
9:05 p.m., April 9 from TinyTwitter

@artornado: shelters have been set up in Mena. 1) Dallas Ave Baptist Church: 300 Dallas Ave 2) 1st Assembly: 2221 Southerland
11:04 p.m., April 9 from twhirl

It was a whole new way for the Arkansas emergency management department to communicate with the public during the April tornadoes. For the first ever, the agency used Twitter to share real-time updates with those in the path of the tornadoes.

Dave Maxwell, director of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, said it makes sense to use these social networking sites to communicate information.

“People are using Internet sites like Twitter to get real news,” he said. “This means that we need to join these sites to make sure the public receives accurate information about what is going on.”

And those sites offer one other benefit: Maxwell said even when the power went out, residents were able to stay current on information because Twitter provides the option of sending alerts to cell phones.

“Twitter has proven to be a valuable resource when it comes to getting information to the public during a disaster,” he said.

But even with the benefits, there are questions. Emergency management offices need to decide which social networking sites to include in their communications strategy, how to balance those with traditional communications methods, and how to ensure inaccurate information doesn’t create havoc.

Read the rest of the article at

Make Emergency Plans Now - Statesman Journal

Jennifer Bailey • August 5, 2009

When I ask people if they are prepared for an emergency, I hear something like "We've got extra food in the cupboards, and there's a flashlight somewhere. We could get it all together if we needed to." Nothing is said about a family plan or other emergency preparations.

I'm glad people have supplies, but what they don't seem to understand is that there may not be time to "get it all together." Recent research conducted by FEMA on preparedness showed 40 percent of survey respondents did not have household plans, 80 percent had not conducted home evacuation drills, and nearly 60 percent did not know their community's evacuation routes.

Nearly 20 percent reported having a disability that would affect their capacity to respond to an emergency situation, but shockingly only one out of four of them had made arrangements specific to their disability to help them respond safely in the event of an emergency.

Go to this Web site for details:

Our nation's emergency responders do an incredible job of keeping us safe, but they can't do it alone.

For example, Marion County has 826 firefighters. Just 252 are paid, and 574 are volunteers. That's 826 firefighters for 314,606 people. It is our responsibility to be prepared and to prepare our families.

Jennifer Bailey, formerly of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is the Public Affairs Coordinator of Oregon Emergency Management. She may be reached at (503) 378-2911, Ext. 22294, or

Friday, August 7, 2009

Williams Creek Fire Update

The Williams Creek Fire is now 60% contained and has burned just over 6500 acres. Due to the cooler weather and rain, firefighters have been able to get an upper hand against the fire and are expecting to open Hwy 138 today. The 8 people who were evacuated from Moore Hills are also expected to be able to return today.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Press Release: Lightning-Caused Fire Near Umatilla Depot

Several thousand acres burn at Umatilla Chemical Depot. Lightning caused several wildfires.

Umatilla Chemical Depot, Hermiston, Ore. - Depot officials have revised estimates about lightning-caused wildfires on the Umatilla Chemical Depot. Preliminary estimates are that fires have now burned several thousand of the depot's 19,729 acres.

The fires are burning in the northern portion of the depot and adjacent property off post. Portions of some fires are now contained. Firefighters from the depot, Boardman, Irrigon and Hermiston Fire Departments are fighting the blazes per mutual aid agreements.

The depot's chemical weapons stockpile is not involved in the fire. Chemical weapons at the depot are stored in reinforced concrete earth-covered "igloos" designed to resist fire or other threats. All nerve agent has been destroyed; the only remaining munitions are bulk containers of mustard blister agent that do not have any explosive components.

As previously reported:

* The first fire started at about 6:20 p.m. today.

* One emergency response worker suffered a knee injury while exiting a vehicle and was taken to the depot clinic.

* Depot workers moved vehicles and other equipment out of the path of the fire.

* Depot officials notified off-post emergency operations centers in Umatilla and Morrow counties, Ore.; Benton County, Wash.; those in Oregon and Washington states; and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Oregon Thunderstorms and Lightning Sparks Fires

The weather and heat warning for lightning storms turned out to be accurate: over the weekend there were 6458 recorded lightning strikes starting more than 77 fires. Most of the fires were contained to one acre or less. But the thunderstorms in Central Oregon are expected to continue through Tuesday night. A red flag warning for heat and fire danger will remain in effect at least until Tuesday night.

There are currently 5 major fires in Oregon, and 7 major fires in Washington. Northern California had several fires start in the Klamath Forest from lightning strikes. USFS says that they are currently holding with the equipment and personnel on hand as long as no additional major fires flare up.

But our question to you is this: if you live in a community near the forest and lightning strikes cause a major fire near you, are you prepared in the event of an emergency evacuation?

In the past, evacuations have been declared in as little as a few hours and if you do not have a plan and an evacuation kit prepared then you may not have time to get ready. In your evacuation kit you need to have extra medicines, copies of important documents, and some non-perishable food and drink items, as well as anything else you think you will need for at least 72 hours.

72 hour kit. I do, do you?

Red Flag Warning Extended to Tuesday, 5 August

Statement as of 2:49 PM PDT on August 03, 2009

... Red flag warning remains in effect until 5 PM PDT Tuesday...

A red flag warning remains in effect until 5 PM PDT Tuesday for zones 605..607..606 and 608.
This includes the southern part of The Mount Hood and the Willamette National forests.

An upper level low pressure system will remain off of the California coast through early
Wednesday... then will slowly move into northern California Thursday... and into southern Idaho
by Friday afternoon.

An unstable southeast to south flow aloft will bring the necessary ingredients into place for the
development of scattered thunderstorms across much of the Oregon Cascades... mainly south of
Mount Jefferson.

The combination of lightning and critically dry fuels will result in an elevated risk for multiple
ignitions. Any thunderstorms that do develop will initially produce little precipitation and a
lot of lightning... also these type of storms are capable of producing gusty winds. Storms should
progressively become more wet Tuesday and Wednesday. Thunderstorm threat will mostly end
later Wednesday night as the low moves farther away and onshore flow increases.

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now...
or are expected.

Please advise the appropriate officials or fire crews in the field of this red flag warning.

Williams Creek Fire near Steamboat, Oregon

Last week FEMA released several articles about the dangers of wildfires. This weekend has proven that it can happen before you know it.

Last week the Williams Creek Fire started burning in the Umpqua National Forest, 3 miles west of the community of Steamboat. That fire has grown to more than 4500 acres by this morning and is only 20% contained. The rugged terrain and dry weather has made it difficult to fight the fire. With more than 1000 firefighters and six helicopters working on the fire, it has caused a series of closures and at least one evacuation.

* Highway 138 is closed between mileposts 29 and 39
* Rock Creek Rd and Canton Rd are closed
* Williams Creek, Bogus Creek, and Scaredman Creek campgrounds are closed
* North Umpqua Trail #1414 is closed from Fern Falls to the Motthead Trailhead
* Steamboat Inn on Highway 138 is evacuated, and residence protection is in place for 8 Moore Hill buildings

See the links for maps and pictures.