Monthly Archives: October 2018

ODF Declares Oregon 2018 Fire Season Over

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SALEM — The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), which protects roughly 16 million acres of private, state and federal lands, officially declared the end of fire season statewide yesterday, Oct. 29.

For ODF, fire season is declared and terminated at the district level, based on local fire danger conditions. Of the Department’s 12 districts across the state, Central Oregon and Southwest Oregon Districts saw drier, warmer conditions early on, officially kicking off the season June 1. Over the course of the 2018 fire season, ODF and its forest protective association partners suppressed a total of 1,059 fires. An estimated 75,531 acres burned on ODF-protected land this year, more than doubling the 10-year average.

Oregon’s complete and coordinated wildfire protection system — consisting of ODF, landowner partners, agency cooperators, and the fire contracting community — was successful under extremely challenging conditions this year. In spite of statewide drought conditions, ODF and partners again succeeded in keeping 95% of all wildfires to less than 10 acres with aggressive and successful initial attacks.

From mid-June through much of September, a combination of historically high temperatures and near-record low precipitation levels and fuel moistures resulted in a significant fire activity increase across the state, in spite of an above-average snowpack and precipitation the previous winter. Dry lightning storms were a contributing factor.

More than 2,800 lightning strikes in mid-July ignited hundreds of starts, at least seven of which became large fires in southwest Oregon. Another lightning event in August with 2,335 strikes ignited hundreds of starts in central and eastern Oregon. Of these hundreds of starts, the majority were caught and contained in initial attack, with only eight large fires established in central Oregon.

“With numerous large fires and limited resources across the nation, the 2018 fire season brought real challenges,” said ODF Interim Deputy Chief for Fire Operations, Russ Lane. “For ODF, we also saw a number of successes. Thanks to aggressive and safe firefighting, we were able to keep several potentially large fires small in scale while keeping firefighter injuries to a minimum. We are grateful for our partnerships and their invaluable roles within Oregon’s complete and coordinated fire protection system, including forest landowners, rural fire districts, and federal and state partners.”

Nationally, as well as in Oregon and Washington, we were at Preparedness Level 5 (the highest level) for 32 days, 8 days shorter than the record-holding 2017 fire season, Increased wildland fire activity on the national level required major commitment of limited resources, adding complexity to an already dynamic fire season.

With the transition out of fire season, ODF districts across the state are shifting their attention to wildfire prevention efforts. Working with partners, landowners and members of the public, the shared objective is to minimize potential fuels for the coming fire season, mitigating risk while remaining vigilant with any activity associated with fire.

“Fire prevention remains our top priority,” Lane said. “Human-caused fires — especially debris burning and illegal, abandoned campfires — continue to raise concern, and we are focusing outreach and messaging efforts there alongside our partner Keep Oregon Green. Combined with fuel reduction and mitigation, we are constantly looking for new ways to raise awareness and support Oregonians in our shared objective to reduce wildfire and keep Oregon green.”

Secretary Of The Air Force To Tour Kingsley Field And Scheduled To Fly In F-15 Eagle

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KINGSLEY FIELD, Ore. – The Secretary of the Air Force, Heather Wilson, will visit the 173rd Fighter Wing this weekend.  Secretary Wilson will the tour base, meet with Airmen, and see the mission first-hand when she flies in the backseat of an F-15 Eagle.

“We are fortunate to host the Secretary of the Air Force this weekend,” says Col. Jeff Smith, 173rd FW commander.  “As I say to all of our visitors, ‘seeing is believing!’ Once leaders see the base, meet the people, and experience the community support, they leave with a better understanding of what makes Kingsley Field so unique and valuable.”

As Secretary of the Air Force, Wilson is s responsible for the affairs of the Department of the Air Force, including organizing, training, equipping and providing for the welfare of its more than 670,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian Airmen and their families.

This is the first time in 173rd Fighter Wing history, that a Secretary of the Air Force has visited Kingsley Field.

“This is an important visit for the base and future mission consideration,” adds Smith.

Secretary Wilson will fly with the unit in an F-15 Eagle on Sunday around 10 a.m.  Members of the media will have the opportunity to capture imagery of her flight, and there will be an interview opportunity following her landing.

All members of the media must coordinate with the public affairs office by 3 pm. Friday Nov. 2 to gain access to the base.  For more information or to RSVP for this event, members of the media may contact the wing’s public affairs office at 541-885-6677.

Secretary of the Air Force, Heather Wilson, biography:  https://www.af.mil/About-Us/Biographies/Display/Article/1183103/dr-heather-wilson/

Oregon Teens Plot To Drug And Kill Parents

Juvenile Plots to Kill Parents

CORVALLIS, Ore. – On Saturday, October 27, 2018, Benton County Sheriff’s Office Deputies took a 14-year-old male from Albany into custody on two charges of Attempted Aggravated Murder and Attempted Arson in the First Degree. Two days later, his 13-year-old male accomplice was taken into custody on two counts of Attempted Aggravated Murder, for the substantial steps he took toward aiding his friend in the crime.

Neither of the juveniles have criminal histories. The 14-year-old was booked and lodged at the Linn-Benton Detention Center in Linn County on Saturday night. The 13-year-old was interviewed on Monday afternoon, admitted to giving his friend the sleep aid medication to kill his parents, and was subsequently taken into custody lodged at the same detention center.

A call to the Benton County Sheriff’s Office was initially made on October 25. A concerned father had information received that his son wanted to give him and his wife sleeping pills and light the house on fire to kill them. 

Several additional friends were reportedly aware of the son’s plot. We are asking juveniles to report suspicious activity, anonymously, to Safe Oregon at 844-472-3367 or tip@safeoregon.com. We also remind the community if they see something, say something.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with additional information is asked to contact Benton County Sheriff’s Office at 541-766-6858

OREGON STATE POLICE CRIME LAB RETIRES STATE’S DNA SAFE KIT BACKLOG

OREGON STATE POLICE CRIME LAB RETIRES STATE’S DNA SAFE KITS

Oregon State Police is pleased to announce our Forensic Services Division has finished processing the backlog of thousands of old “SAFE – kits” sent in by police agencies around the state. These kits — Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence kits (sometimes incorrectly called “rape kits”) are used to collect evidence from victims of sexual assault.   

Prior to the Oregon Legislature’s passage of SB1571 in 2016, Oregon police agencies submitted SAFE kits for DNA analysis only when the test results could potentially help solve or prove the crime being investigated. As a result, more than 5,000 kits were retained in evidence storage at police agencies around the state. In passing SB-1571 the Oregon Legislature recognized both the future crime-fighting value added by growing the database of “DNA fingerprints”, and the intrinsic value many survivors, victims, and victim’s families found in the testing. 

Oregon Police Chiefs and Sheriffs partnered with the State Police to provide an accounting of sexual assault kits, so public safety leadership could assess the pending workload and establish new submission protocols to manage it efficiently.  

The passage of SB 1571, and the Legislature’s support of additional staffing in the State Police crime lab, made it possible for the OSP Forensic Services Division to process thousands of SAFE kits over the last two years. At the same time, with help from the Multnomah County DA’s Office, Portland Police Bureau, and the District Attorneys in Lane County and Marion County, grant funding was secured to pay for outside testing of the oldest kits from police agencies in those counties. State Police scientists entered eligible “DNA fingerprint” profiles from both testing sources into the FBI’s national database (CODIS). 

Oregon State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton said, “For the sake of justice and Oregon’s sexual assault survivors, Oregon’s public safety leaders made the submission and testing of SAFE kits a priority at all levels of law enforcement.  This success story would not have been possible without the collaboration of Oregon’s Chiefs of Police, Sheriffs, District Attorneys, legislators, health workers, and sexual assault survivors and their advocates.”

Superintendent Hampton added, “I’m very proud of the State Police Forensic Scientists in all our crime laboratories.  They achieved remarkable results on a very demanding and technically challenging project.”

Governor Kate Brown said “As a longtime advocate for survivors of sexual assault, addressing the backlog of SAFE kits in Oregon has been a priority of my administration. This project is the perfect example of what can happen when diverse stakeholders work together to right a wrong. Although success cannot come overnight, key investments in funding and the steady work of our State Police Forensic Scientists show that success is achievable.”  

By working together with other capable Oregon partners, Oregon has become one of the few states in the country to fully eliminate the SAFE kit backlog.

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