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Bulletin Board

Last update:  Thurs., May 19th, 2016


**FIREFIGHTER TRAINING began Friday, April 15th and continues through June. The schedule and details are posted on our training page.

Anyone with questions about firefighter training should contact Chief Steve Avgeris. General details and requirements are always available on our training page, along with info on previous seasonal training programs.

Use Caution When Burning Debris:

ODF's Fire Prevention Specialist Brian Ballou issued an advisory ("Use Caution with Open Burning," on Tues. 4/5/16 regarding the burning of slash or debris piles:

"Preventing summer wildfires and protecting your home often starts in the spring when fire danger is traditionally low and the warm weather lends to working outside. Spring is the perfect time to clean up around the home and discard piles of yard debris safely and effectively. Regardless of the time of year, always use caution if your plans include burning piles of yard debris..."

"The Oregon Department of Forestry urges residents to exercise caution when burning debris and to refer to the following checklist before burning:

Seek alternatives to burning, such as chipping or recycling the debris.
• If you decide to burn the material, call your structural fire department to see if a burning permit is required.
• Call your county’s air quality office to find out whether open burning is allowed that day. The number in Jackson County is (541) 776-7007. In Josephine County, call (541) 476-9663.
• Construct the burn pile in an isolated spot so the flames won’t spread to adjacent vegetation. Dig or scrape a fire line around the burn pile. Make sure there are no overhanging branches or powerlines above the burn pile.
• Keep the burn pile small. Burning a small pile is easier to control than a large one.
• Have a shovel and water at the burn pile site. If the site can be reached with a garden hose, make sure the hose extends at least 25 feet beyond the pile’s location.
• Avoid burning during windy conditions. Embers can travel and ignite spot fires nearby.
• Stay with the fire, wetting down the edges to prevent escape, until it is completely out.
• Remember, unattended piles can quickly spread out of control. If your debris burn escapes control, call 911 immediately.

"This is also the best time of year to make your property wildfire-safe. Be sure and remove all dead leaves and needles from your roof and gutters. Create a defensible space of 30 to 100 feet around your home by clearing brush and moving wood piles. Keep your lawn well irrigated and make sure your driveway is clearly marked and accessible for emergency vehicles and equipment..."

Read the complete bulletin "Use Caution with Open Burning" (pdf).

NOTE: The Colestin Rural Fire District does not require burn permits, but we do request that anyone planning to conduct a burn notify us ahead of time, so that we are aware of your activity and know that your burn is intentional, instead of wasting resources on a false alarm.

As always, if you encounter unexpected problems with a burn, do not hesitate to contact us for assistance. If a burn escapes your control, call 9-1-1 immediately. (That way, we get notified AND we have back-up support from other agencies if needed.) It is far better to call for help as soon as possible than to wait until we all have a serious fire on our hands.

Citizen Fire Academy begins June 1st, 2016
"Be a Leader for Wildfire Preparedness in Your Community":

This program, offered through the Southern Oregon Research & Extension Center, is for anyone interested to become better prepared for wildfire, and to be able to help others in the community become better prepared in turn. Kara Baylog, SOREC's OSU Program Assistant [for] Forestry and Natural Resources, says:

"Wildfire is a fact of life in southwest Oregon. Do you know what you need to do to prepare? Does your community?

"Citizen Fire Academy (CFA) is a program designed to provide participants with a working knowledge of fire behavior, strategies to improve fire resilience on their properties and in the community, and an opportunity to get to know the agencies and people involved in preparing for and fighting fire. The CFA program is done through a combination of in-class instruction, online learning, and on the ground field tours at old fire sites and forest landowner properties. Participants finish the class with a self-prepared Wildfire Preparedness Plan for themselves or their neighborhood.

"Whether you are a property landowner, a landscape professional, community leader or simply an interested member of the public, if you recognize how wildfire can pose a threat to you or your community, but want to know more about what to do, the CFA program is for you."

View/download the Citizen Fire Academy brochure to learn more and to register. (Registration required by May 20th. Register early - space is limited!) You can also register directly at: For further information or if you have questions, you can call Kara Baylog at 541-776-7371 or email her from the link on the Citizen Fire Academy brochure (p. 2, left side).

"Creating fire-adapted communities
through Education and Volunteer Service."

June 7-10, 2016: Cascadia Rising

Cascadia Subduction Zone Pacific Northwest Catastrophic Earthquake and Tsunami Functional Exercise:

"Much attention has been given lately to the possibility of an 8.0-9.0 magnitude Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) earthquake occurring in the Pacific Northwest, along the CSZ fault line, which stretches from southern British Columbia to northern California. History has shown, and scientists confirm, this quake occurs, on average, once every 200 to 500 years. The last major CSZ earthquake and tsunami occurred in 1700.

"June 7-10, the Cascadia Rising 2016 (CR-16) region-wide functional exercise will help prepare the Pacific Northwest to coordinate a response to a CSZ earthquake and tsunami. Participants in this exercise include agencies at state, local and federal levels in Oregon, Washington and Idaho." [Quoted information is from the OOEM website.]

We encourage everyone to participate locally by taking actions to prepare for a large-scale seismic event, including signing up for Citizen Alert, preparing an emergency evacuation go-kit, and preparing shelter-in-place resources starting with a 3-week emergency supply of water and food, and a first aid kit. This is also a good time to review and update your emergency plans and contact info with your neighbors.

To learn more about the Cascadia Rising exercise, the Cascadia Subduction Zone, the earthquake hazard in the Pacific Northwest, and for earthquake preparedness information, visit the Oregon Office of Emergency Management online and check out our Emergency Preparedness page.

“Before Wildfire Strikes! A Handbook for Homeowners and Communities in Southwest Oregon” is an excellent new (Dec. 2015) guide for helping us all to prepare for and survive wildfire.

Written by Kara Baylog and Max Bennett of Jackson and Josephine County Emergency Management in collaboration with numerous other local agencies, it offers very usable information on topics essential to successful wildfire prevention and survival:

  • Do you know what it takes to survive a wildfire?
  • What are Firewise and Fire-Adapted Communities?
  • The Elements of a Fire-Adapted Community
  • Fire is natural to southwest Oregon’s environment
  • Southwest Oregon’s forests today
  • Community Protection
  • Emergency Access
  • The Home Ignition Zone
  • Creating an Effective Defensible Space
  • Working with your neighbors
  • Conservation landscaping concepts
  • Evacuation
  • Notification
  • When a fire threatens
  • Evacuating
  • Be Ready, Be Set, GO!
"This is a manual that helps homeowners and neighborhoods prepare their areas and their homes for wildfire. A fire-adapted community is a community located in a fire-prone area that requires little assistance from firefighters during a wildfire. Residents of these communities accept responsibility for living in a high fire-hazard area. They possess the knowledge and skills to prepare their homes and property to survive wildfire; evacuate early, safely and effectively; and survive, if trapped by wildfire." [Quote from the OSU Extension Service's website.]

We encourage you to take advantage of this informational resource in your planning and activities as you prepare for fire season by renewing and/or expanding your fuel breaks and reducing fuel loads around your home this spring.

April 30th, 2016, was National PrepareAthon Day; May 1 through May 7 was Wildfire Awareness Week and lead up to the NFPA’s national Wildfire Community Preparedness Day on Sat. May 7th:

Wildfire Community Preparedness Day Banner

"Join individuals and groups of all ages on May 7, and participate in national Wildfire Community Preparedness Day activities that will make your community safer from the impacts of future and past wildfires. [ . . .]

"Your actions will contribute to increasing the safety of both residents and wildland firefighters. Commit a couple of hours or an entire day to helping your community and accomplish something great!"

"The 125 recipients of a $500 project funding award were selected March 1; recipients will utilize the money to complete a risk reduction, post-fire or preparedness activity/event on May 7. The monetary awards were sponsored by State Farm, a co-sponsor of the third annual nationwide campaign."

The 2016 Wildfire Community Preparedness Day campaign is co-sponsored and supported by the NFPA and State Farm.

Learn more online at:  

For project ideas (and safety tips), see under the paragraph heading "How Do I Start?" (near the top, under the banner).

For social media, use: #WildfirePrepDay.

Leading up to and following the NFPA's Wildfire Preparedness Day on May 7th [was] a series of additional highlighted events sponsored by FEMA:

April 10 – 16: Flood Awareness Week

April 17 – 23: Tornado Awareness Week

April 24 – 30: Lead up to National PrepareAthon! Day

April 30th (Sat.) - National PrepareAthon Day - Learn how to prepare for emergencies!

May 1 – 7: Wildfire Awareness Week and lead up to NFPA’s national Wildfire Community Preparedness Day (May 7)

May 15 – 21: Hurricane Awareness Week

May 22 – 28: Extreme Heat Week

To learn more about how you can prepare for wildfire, see the NFPA's blog page at:

May 1-7 was also the U.S. Fire Administration's National Arson Awareness Week. This year's theme is: "Prevent Wildfire Arson - Spread the Facts, Not the Fire!" View the poster and learn more.

The 2016-2017 Fiscal Budget:  The 2016-2017 Provisional Budget was approved and adopted as the 2016-2017 Final Budget by the Board at its May 10th meeting. The Final Budget is available on our Budget page.

SURPLUS FOREST SEEDLINGS - posted 12 March 2016:

The U.S. Forest Service has a limited supply of surplus forest seedlings available to the public right now on a first-come, first-served basis. (This was announced in approx. mid-February; sales of remaining surplus stock will be open until May 1st.)

Seedlings are pre-packaged in boxes of various commercial quantities and will not be re-packaged for smaller quantities. Prices, however, are very reasonable; large quantities can be shared with neighbors and friends who also may be interested.

For information about seedling types, seed sources, quantities, etc., and to place an order, contact Juan Ortiz, U.S.F.S. Admin Operations Specialist,at the J. Herbert Stone Nursery at 2606 Old Stage Rd. in Central Point, OR., at: 541-858-6100.

Will you be doing any landscaping on your property this spring?

Check out the OSU Extension Service's brochure, "Fire-Resistant Plants for Oregon Home Landscapes," available online.

Another OSU Extension brochure of interest is "A Land Manager's Guide for Creating Fire-Resistant Forests," also available online.

Brochures are also available at 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.


Specific information on prescribed burns within our district will normally always be posted here on our website as soon as we receive notice.

We are notified ahead of any prescribed (ODF-approved) burning, even though there is often not a lot of warning, as approval from the ODF depends upon the latest weather and other local conditions.

If we have not posted a prescribed burn notice on this page (at the top) and you're unsure if you're seeing a controlled slash burn, call us - it's far better to err on the side of caution.

If a burn cannot be determined to be a controlled burn, or for slash burns that may have gone out of control, don't take a chance - just call 9-1-1.

Note: We don't require burning permits when slash burning is allowed (only before and after fire season), but everyone conducting any outdoor burning is urged to let us know ahead of such activities, to avoid false alarms and as a general safety precaution.

(Info on previous prescribed burns conducted by Lomakatsi is available below.)



This warning is in response to some near-misses in recent months: we don't want to be responding to serious medical incidents that can be avoided. Please DRIVE SAFELY. Thank you.

ALERT:  Many trees weakened by drought stress over the past two years may be vulnerable to toppling unexpectedly due to saturated soils, winds, and/or heavy snow loads.

If you are aware of leaning or weakened trees near your residence or driveway that may be a safety hazard, have a professional deal with them properly. (If you aren't able to locate someone, call us and we will try to assist you to find someone qualified.)

If you see a problem near or on a public roadway, please report it to local authorities (or provide us with the necessary information and we will forward it to the proper authorities).


LIVING ON YOUR LAND (LOYL) CONFERENCE:  Saturday, April 16, 2016

"On Saturday, April 16, The Land Steward Program of Oregon State University Extension Service will present a one-day conference on the beautiful campus grounds at The Redwood Campus of Rogue Community College in Grants Pass.

"This conference is for people who own land or who are thinking about owning land in Southern Oregon.

"You will be able to choose 4 classes from 20 offerings. Presenters with experience in forest health, building better soil techniques, living in a fire-prone environment, beekeeping techniques, water storage, native-American land steward techniques, urban homesteading, botany and birding classes will be conducting the classes...

Classes run from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm and are offered in 4 time blocks (2 in the morning, 2 in the afternoon) with an hour break for lunch.

"The cost of the “Living on Your Land” Conference is $50, which includes coffee and snack breaks. A fabulous lunch is available for an additional $10. The registration deadline [was] Friday, April 8..." Classes fill quickly so early registration is advised.

To view/download the conference brochure with full information and course listings, visit: and


7:00 PM to 9:00 PM.

This event, presented by the Jackson County Office of the OSU Extension and FREE to the public, was held at the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center at 569 Hanley Road in Central Point (in the Auditorium building).

"Taking care of your forest land through reduction of fuels, habitat restoration projects, and perhaps even a timber sale is a great idea. But for most projects to be done out in your forest, there needs to be a way to bring out equipment; from personal vehicles to chippers and log trucks.

"Well maintained roads not only help you finish the project work you want to do on your property, they can also help suppression efforts when wildfire comes. Wide, cleared roads with good ingress and egress can prove invaluable for fire fighters needing to access remote locations and stop the spread of fire.

"Join us for a discussion on good forest infrastructure, and what is needed to mitigate the impacts of entry while maximizing the benefits to access from the perspective of forest management and fire protection.

"Steve Bowers is the OSU Extension Specialist in Forest Harvesting under the College of Forestry: Forest Engineering, Resources & Management. His extensive work include resources on managing woodland roads and timber harvesting.

"Matt Hilliker is the Wildland Coordinator for the Jackson County Fire District #5 and runs the Wildfire Training and Certification program and Fire-Adapted Communities program and is a wildfire instructor at Rogue Community college. He has 10 years of experience with the Oregon Department of Forestry as a Crew Captain, Engine Captain and Fire/Fuels Mitigation Specialist."

For full information, see: and

FYI: Want to know what's going on in the district? The latest available Board minutes are always posted on our Board Minutes page.

Our new south valley kiosk was built by Jerry Lehman, a retired contractor who donated his labor and skills to help us make this project happen.

In addition to past construction jobs in the Colestin area, Jerry was born and raised in Hilt and has family members who continue to live here in the valley.

This project had minimal funding from our annual budget (for materials only) and could not have become a reality without Jerry’s contribution.

The Colestin Rural Fire District gratefully thanks him for his work and his generosity.

29 Aug 2015 - Our new lower valley kiosk in service

Our name sign was done by Superior Stamp & Sign Co. in Medford for a very reasonable cost. We also appreciate their help and time to work with us to get the sign just right. Peggy Moore and Betsy Bradshaw also contributed their labor to stain the kiosk; Steve Avgeris assisted by getting clearance for County road right-of-way use.

29 Aug 2015 AM - Our new kiosk (right) with  Fire Danger Indicator sign

Our new kiosk with our Fire Danger Indicator sign (left) built in 2011 by Brian Dwyer, one of our firefighters.

This kiosk in the lower Colestin valley nearly on the CA/OR border has been several years in the planning due to siting considerations, and is the District's third posting site for fire season regulation bulletins, firefighter/first responder training announcements, annual budget meeting and proposed budget public notices, and other District news.

(The other two posting sites are our bulletin case on the the postal kiosk on the Mt. Ashland Ski Road (about one mile up next to the long row of mailboxes), and the "mini-kiosk" just to the right of Fire Station One in the center of the valley.)

This new kiosk, the District's first full-size kiosk of its own, was designed to provide more space for fire safety and prevention materials; additionally, the area adjacent to the bulletin case will allow for larger flyers and posters from time to time.

This project is part of our public education and outreach, intended to encourage and develop fire safety and prevention awareness within our community. Related locally relevant topics of concern to fire agencies will also be featured whenever possible.

We hope that as you drive by, or when you get a chance to stop and check out our postings, you'll find the new material informative, relevant, and useful.


We have not had back-up support from the Hornbrook Volunteer Fire Department, our next-closest fire agency, since early in 2014; however, this may soon change, following the recent Nov. 3rd special election for Hornbrook's board of directors.

UPDATE: A TV news story on Sun. Nov. 15th reported that with the newly elected board, volunteer firefighters will be returning to service in the department sometime within the next week. Details will follow here as soon as we are able to learn them.

The backstory (all listed articles published by the Siskiyou Daily News (Yreka, CA), posted online):

"Supes set election to reinstate Hornbrook fire board," Wed., Aug. 5, 2015: "After nearly 16 months without a fire department, the Siskiyou County Board Of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to call a special election for board members for Hornbrook’s fire protection district. [. . .] "Controversy within the Hornbrook Fire Department began on Feb. 27, when the entire department quit. [. . .] "The election will be held November 3, 2015..."

"Hornbrook's entire fire department quits," Feb. 27, 2014;
"Hornbrook firefighters turn in their gear," Mar. 7, 2014;
"Our View: Hot mess in Hornbrook," Mar. 14, 2014;
"Fire board tries to address issues," Jun. 20, 2014;
"Fire board president Olson resigns," Nov. 3, 2014;
"Hornbook Fire Department still battling with fire board," Jun. 16, 2015.


The Siskiyou Rail Line is back in operation as of November 10th, 2015:

According to the recent news report, "Freight service over Siskiyou Pass starts today," (Mail Tribune online, Tues. Nov. 10, 2015):  "The Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad has begun sending freight trains over the entire 296-mile short line between Eugene and Weed after spending $13 million for the Siskiyou Summit Railroad Revitalization project. The resumption of train traffic on the Siskiyou Line south of Ashland means veneer and other wood products from the region can be shipped by rail. CORP plans to send about 12 freight trains over the tracks each day."

Previously, ODOT's Moving Ahead publication on Sept. 25th, 2015 (included with the 9/25/15 Mail Tribune), stated that, "Major repairs to the Siskiyou Rail Line are on schedule so that the line is expected to reopen by mid-November. // "Freight service on the historic line, which first opened in December 1887 and runs 95 miles from Ashland to Weed [CA], stopped in 2008. // "The Siskiyou Summit Railroad Revitalization project is repairing and revitalizing a 65-mile section of the 296-mile stretch of the short line railroad, including rail, tunnels, ties and bridges as well as upgrading its freight capacity to handle the 286,000-pound industry standard for rail cars." The line, when re-opened, will provide service five days a week between Weed, CA., and Medford, OR., with one train in each direction running on those days; each train will have 12 to 14 cars.

While the expanded shipping opportunities for regional companies with the re-opening of the rail line are great, we are still concerned by the rail's transit through our valley as a source of potential fire sparks, as this has been a very significant issue in the past. While we hope that recently completed repairs to the line will have alleviated most, if not all, of the sources of potential fire sparking along the tracks, we will be monitoring the trains once the line re-opens as we previously have, particularly during fire season.

For more information, see "Reopening Siskiyou Rail Line," by Brad Hicks, ODOT, Moving Ahead, September, 2015, and "Siskiyou Rail Line Repair - November reopening," ODOT, Moving Ahead, September, 2015.

Are you interested in becoming a weather spotter?

The National Weather Service recently invited weather watchers to a FREE severe weather spotter training program. The spotter class was held Thursday, October 8th, 2015, between 6 and 8 pm at the Carnegie Library, 413 West Main Street, Medford.

The weather service uses reports collected from spotters across the region to determine the severity of both winter and summer storms. In the class, meteorologists explain the types of storms we receive in Southern Oregon, show you how to use a rain gauge, and how and what to report.

If you are interested in a future class, contact the National Weather Service in Medford. For details on the recent class, see the flyer. [Information is from Ryan Sandler of the National Weather Service in Medford.]

banner: ShakeOut: Join Us in the World's Largest Earthquake  Drill

SHAKEOUT OREGON last took place on Thurs., October 15th, 2015; the Oregon Office of Emergency Management states that "ShakeOut participants included businesses, schools, local, state, and federal government organizations, and many others. The worldwide drill is conducted to practice earthquake safety and promote emergency preparedness." According to an OOEM news release, "Approximately 540,000 Oregonians participated in this year's Great Oregon ShakeOut."  Learn more.

Fire Season and Defensible Space:

Fire officials at all levels are expecting this fire season to become a very challenging, costly, and potentially devastating one.

A news report carried in the Mail Tribune, Thurs. June 18, 2015, pg. A2,, "Southern Oregon is drying out early," by Ian Campbell, underscores the situation (an original version of this article by Ian Campbell was published in the Roseburg News-Review as "Oregon's drought to lead to extensive and expensive fire season):

" 'We're seeing values right now that we typically see in the middle of July,' said meteorologist John Saltenberger of the Northwest Coordination Center.

'We're about a month ahead of schedule for drying.' " [...] " 'We're on track for a severe fire season, and what we need is two things,' said Tom Fields, fire prevention coordinator for the forestry department. 'We need a break from Mother Nature, and we really need folks' corporation [sic] in keeping fires from starting.' " [...]

Refering to the multifold increase in burned acres last year, he adds that "People are not necessarily doing anything differently . . . but the drought conditions make fires more likely to start - and to spread."

An earlier news report by the AP on June 9, 2015, carried by the Mail Tribune, "Feds say Northwest, Southwest could see catastrophic fires," echoes this:

"DENVER — Despite a wet spring over much of the nation, the Obama administration warned Tuesday of potentially catastrophic wildfires this summer, especially in the Southwest and Northwest.

" 'We've been very fortunate here in the central part of the country to have above-normal precipitation to allow us to postpone the fire season,' U.S. Forest Service chief Tom Tidwell said at a news conference in Denver.

"But as the summer heat dries out forests and rangeland, the fire danger will rise, said Tidwell, who joined Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell at the Denver briefing.

"Southern Arizona and drought-stricken California are especially vulnerable to large, costly fires, Tidwell said. Washington, Oregon, northern Idaho and western Montana will face increasing fire danger later in the summer, he said.

"Jewell said climate change and drought are to blame for worsening wildfires..."

Multiple key factors have contributed to this view, including the almost non-existent snowpack this past winter, minimal spring rains (2" below normal), and an increasing regional drought designation (also see NOAA's U.S. drought portal).

Temperatures have been extreme for extended periods, with the month of June being the hottest June on record. (See the Mail Tribune 6/28/15 (Sun.) article, "Week's temperatures forecast to peak at 111 on Thursday.")

A later news story summarizes the above reports:  FIRE POTENTIAL IN THE WEST, 2015:  "Dry Days Bring Ferocious Start to Fire Season: Officials are warning about the potential for more catastrophe in the months ahead, as drought, heat and climate change leave the landscape ever thirstier," a frontpage article in The New York Times, August 1st, 2015, available online at:

Lightning, always the wild card, is a very serious concern in this setting. In addition, it strikes the ground more often in drier years, increasing the potential for new fires.

To minimize your wildfire risk, we urge you to create or renew fuel breaks (cleared areas, or continuous perimeters without any flammable fuels) to reduce potential fuel loads around your home and other structures. This is essential to making your home and property more defensible.

Prioritize by eliminating fuels in a primary, secondary, and third zone outward from your home: mow down tall weeds, which dry out sooner and become flash fuels; take out any dead trees and shrubs; remove leaves, needles and other debris from roofs and around structures; and remove any ladder fuels (branches or other potential fuels that lower toward the ground) that fire can use to climb. Relocate wood piles to at least 30 feet away from structures. Relocate items stored under decks and porches, and screen or box in areas under decks and porches with wire screening no larger than 1/8" mesh to help keep embers out during a fire.

More wildfire preparation information:

Thank you for participating in wildfire preparedness and prevention.



As always, the CRFD encourages our residents to engage in wildfire fuel-thinning projects when and where possible, and in general, to establish and maintain fuel breaks around homes and other structures.

See our Wildland Fire Prevention page as well as reviewing information on some possible fuel-thinning assistance sources (below on this page):

The Lomakatsi Restoration Project;

The Oregon Dept. of Forestry's fuel reduction grant program;

Forestry consultant and contractor Marty Main; and

The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, run out of the Klamath Falls Fish and Wildlife Service Office.

Grants and other funding assistance for fuel-thinning projects may also be available through the sources listed here.


It is instructive to remember that the 1981 Colestin Fire occurred in fire season conditions very similar to what we appear to be facing now.

The winter of 1980-81 was one of only four over the past 35 years on record as "years with low snowpack," and one of the two years out of the same four low-snowpack years when "dry conditions persisted through the winter," resulting in "extreme" fire danger conditions earlier than usual that fire season.*

The Colestin Fire
began during dry, intensely hot weather, on the heels of four consecutive days of triple-digit 110-degree and over temperatures, on Monday, August 10th, around 12:30 pm just as the day was about to reach its peak heat, in the inhabited, densely forested heart of the valley.

Sparks from young children playing with matches in the yard of a home along Colestin Road near what was then the historic Colestin Stage Stop Hotel, owned by the Avgeris family, ignited the underbrush and rapidly involved the tinder-dry forest.

Driven by highly erratic, shifting winds that afternoon through the steep, rugged terrain, the fire grew to hundreds of acres within a mere handful of hours.

Firefighting efforts by the five fire agencies that responded from outside of the area assisted by the CCC and two other hot-shot crews were severely challenged by the fire's crazy path as it changed directions numerous times, at one point almost reaching Mt. Ashland Road.

Ultimately, while no lives were lost and only three minor structures were consumed, over 540 acres burned (some accounts say over 700 acres), including two million board feet of timber; damage to the local watershed was also extensive. Altogether, the Colestin Fire took more than 700 firefighters and three days to contain; firefighting costs topped $1 million.

At the same time that season, at temperatures of over 100 degrees in some areas and also in bone-dry conditions, a dozen other major fires burned an estimated total of 47,000 acres in four western states; later that same week alone, new lightning-caused fires scorched approximately 20,000 more acres across Oregon.

[*Ref: "Dry year for Oregon, Washington - Snowpack suffers; one meteorologist predicts a warm summer ahead," by the AP and carried in the Mail Tribune, Thurs., January 2, 2014, Page 2A.]


We fervently hope that this is not the kind of fire season that is in store for us, but because of a lack of significant snowpack this past winter, we may have to face this. It also means a need for more and better fuel breaks, more individual vigilance and safe practices, and more participation in our fire district.

The one major difference between 1981 and the present is the existence of a local fire agency with trained local firefighters and local firefighting resources and the fire safety consciousness and prevention measures of our community and residents.

This may be a fire season when these qualities are not only more important than ever, but a year when earlier, more extreme conditions leave us no other choice: either we must be pro-active, or we may have to pay the price, however high, for not doing all that we are each able to do ahead of time.



For more information and related articles on the 2015 fire season outlook, see our 2015 Fire Season Chronology, below ODF's sequenced fire season bulletins.

Community Emergency Preparedness Event - After-Notes

A big thank you to all who attended our Community Emergency Preparedness Presentation earlier this month (on Sat. May 2nd, 10 am - 12 pm at the Hilt Community Church).

We also extend a huge thanks to Sara Rubrecht, Senior Manager of the Jackson County Office of Emergency Management, and her husband, also an OEM member, for coming out to our community and presenting this timely event.

Sara did a great job covering the universe of emergency management in less than 2 hours, ending with a brief Q & A opportunity. For more details, see our Emergency Preparedness page.

Community interest:

October 11th, 2015, was the 92nd anniversary of the 1923 D'Autremont brothers train hold-up - also known as "the last great western train robbery" - as the Southern Pacific reached the Siskiyou Summit at Tunnel 13, where the train ran at its slowest on its journey over the Siskiyou mountains.

"Murder on the Southern Pacific - An Oregon Experience" re-aired on SOPTV's "Oregon Experience" on Wed. October 14th, 2015, at 2:00 am; this was a shortened, half-hour version of the original 1-hour program that first aired on Mon. June 1st and Thurs., June 4th, 2015.

This October 14th, "Murder on the Southern Pacific" was followed at 2:30 am by a half-hour version of "State of Jefferson: An Oregon Experience."

For the video preview of "Murder on the Southern Pacific," more info and to view the program online, see SOPTV's program link.

FYI:  If you missed "Big Burn: American Experience" (1 hr) on SOPTV (KSYS) on Tues. Feb. 3rd, or the repeat on Thurs., Feb. 5th, 2015, you can still see it online at
SOPTV's program description states:
"In the summer of 1910, an unimaginable wildfire devoured more than three million acres across the Northern Rockies, confronting the fledgling U.S. Forest Service with a catastrophe that would define the agency and the nation’s fire policy for the rest of the 20th century and beyond. This documentary provides a cautionary tale of heroism and sacrifice, arrogance and greed, hubris and, ultimately, humility in the face of nature’s frightening power. Inspired by the best-selling book by Timothy Egan." This event inaugurated a policy of fire prevention, rather than "let it burn," eventually causing the heavy build-up of volatile fuel loads that characterizes wildfires now - a policy often hotly debated (as it were), always under serious scrutiny, and one that directly affects the level of danger our own firefighters now must cope with.

Of interest:  "Woodland owners have much to offer," forestry consultant and contractor Marty Main's Guest Opinion in the Thurs., Jan. 29th, 2015, Mail Tribune:  "Today, we are confronted with increasing amounts of high-severity fire with negative effects... [. . .] ...if fire historically visited most forest sites every 5-20 years, as current research suggests, and the change toward more large, severe fires has been the result of decisions we as a society have made (e.g., put out all the fires while creating more flammable forests), then we can, once again, choose another path. Our money and efforts are better spent supporting management activities designed to reduce fire severity before wildfire visits our forests than after it has occurred..." To learn more about creating a less fire-prone landscape through a diversified strategy to forest/woodland management, see Fire Protection (under Info & Resources) at the Jackson-Josephine Small Woodlands Association website.

Fire Service Appreciation Day 2015:  According to The Communique, Annual Fire Service Appreciation Day is held in late January every year. This year, it is being held on Tuesday, January 27th.

In keeping with passage of HJR 25, events are held across the state to recognize and honor the fire service. HJR 25 'encourages all citizens of Oregon to recognize and honor our fire service members for their efforts to keep our citizens safe from the ravages of fire.' Communities across the state have "an opportunity to host a variety of events recognizing members of their local fire departments and districts for their dedication, commitment and sacrifice."

This year, according to the Oregon State Fire Marshal's office, "State Fire Marshal Jim Walker is encouraging communities across the state to show appreciation to everyone involved in the fire service for their dedication and commitment to helping others. Oregon follows the national trend with approximately 70% of firefighters in the state performing their duties as volunteers. Fire Service Appreciation Day is an opportunity for everyone to say thanks to volunteer and full-time firefighters alike for their time, talent, and sacrifice."


The Oregon Dept. of Forestry announced on Jan. 7th, 2015, that it is offering fire hazard fuel reduction grants to eligible residents in Southwest Jackson County. While the focus for these grants is on properties in the Applegate and Bear Creek areas in the Rogue Valley, the ODF also states that:

" If landowners outside of the grant areas are interested in having a free/no obligation property assessment with regard to wildland fire safety, they are also encouraged to call (541) 664-3328." [. . .]

"For more information about the fuel-reduction grant program, and to schedule a free on-site fire risk assessment, call Derick Price at ODF’s Medford office, (541) 664-3328."


Ongoing FREE 10-MINUTE HANDS-ONLY CPR TRAINING: If you missed this opportunity to get trained in Hands-Only CPR at one of our previous events, you still can.  Learn more.

FYI:  The Colestin/Hilt Emergency Preparedness Plan Leadership Group held its first meeting on Sat., January 18th, 2014. Our newly launched Emergency Preparedness Plan Project is in recognition of the increasing need to be able to effectively respond to significant emergency events here in our valley, and to provide help and leadership through the District to our residents. Learn more about our Emergency Preparedness Plan Project on our new page dedicated to developing our emergency preparedness resources.

The Lomakatsi Restoration Project - Prescribed Fire Controlled Burns and woodland fuel load reduction in the Colestin valley:

The Lomakatsi Restoration Project notified us of two APPROVED PRESCRIBED BURNING projects during the fall of 2015. One prescribed burn took place on Friday, Oct. 23rd, 2015, on a private property near Nepal Rd. in the middle of the Colestin valley; a second prescribed burn was scheduled for before Nov. 25th on another private property here in the Colestin area.  See the posted flyer announcing these prescribed burns. Information on prescribed burning is also available on Lomakatsi's website at:

Previously in 2015, the Lomakatsi Restoration Project conducted low-intensity prescribed burning in our valley on Wednesday, Feb. 18th, 2015, and Thursday, Feb. 19th. The burning of brush piles occurred on private property along Goat Ranch Road in the lower valley, by pre-arrangement with the owner. This prescribed burn was not related to another burn a few days earlier done by a private landowner "located between Colestin Road and I-5."

Lomakatsi also conducted a prescribed burn on Friday, January 30th, 2015, in the Colestin valley, on a private property near Goat Ranch Road, after receiving clearance from the ODF. Adjacent landowners were notified ahead of that date. See Lomakatsi's announcement flyer.

All burns are always contingent upon getting air quality clearance from the Oregon Department of Forestry's smoke management forecasting. The CRFD receives maps of designated burn locations and also is notified just ahead of each actual burn.

Low-intensity prescribed fire controlled burns are by arrangement with participating residents as part of a program to reduce woodland fuel loads through density thinning and slash treatments and to restore oak habitat.

the Lomakatsi Restoration Project conducted several prescribed burning projects on private properties within the Colestin Valley during the fall of 2014 (from Nov. 1st to Dec. 1st). See Lomakatsi's announcement flyer for additional information on that burn.

Prescribed fire controlled burns were also done during the fall of 2013 through March, 2014 by Greyback Forestry, Inc., contracted by the Lomakatsi Restoration Project in partnership with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on private lands within our district. For details, see Lomakatsi's site under "News & Events" and the link to Colestin area work with photos at; also see Lomakatsi's flyer, "Colestin Valley Prescribed Hand Pile Burn Notification, Potential Operation Dates: November 2013 through March 2014" (pdf format), and Lomakatsi's Nov. 2013 flyer, "Colestin Valley Prescribed Fire Notification," Nov. 1 - 18, 2013, (jpg image; allow approx. 30 seconds to load).

For questions or more information about about prescribed burning projects or about participating in Lomakatsi's fuel reduction program, see or contact them at or 541-488-0208.

Oak Restoration - Free Field Day tour in the Colestin valley - Sat. June 27th, 2015

Lomakatsi invited those interested to join in on an Oak Woodland Restoration Field Day tour on Saturday, June 27th, 2015, from 9am to 2pm.

This free event was hosted by the Klamath Siskiyou Oak Network (KSON), a group composed of local state and federal agencies, Native American tribes, private citizens, and non-governmental organizations (including Lomakatsi) that provide opportunities for practitioners and community members to engage on issues affecting threatened oak habitats in order to promote oak conservation and restoration.

During the tour, participants visited several privately owned oak woodland sites in the Colestin valley to look at completed oak restoration treatments and discuss conservation efforts taking place in the local region.

For more information, see the flyer, contact KSON Coordinator Kate Halstead at or 541-201-0866 ext. 7#, or visit Information is also available on Lomakatsi's website at


For those who are thinking ahead, since these projects need advance planning, here is some information for you to consider:

The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, run out of the Klamath Falls Fish and Wildlife Service Office, is available to help private landowners restore oak woodland.

"The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program works with private landowners and other partners providing financial and technical assistance to achieve voluntary habitat restoration," according to the Program brochure.

The Program also includes assistance in identifying areas that could benefit from prescribed fire, and in connecting landowners with additional organizational resources in order to help fund and carry out approved prescribed burning plans. (Due to multiple such events during the fall of 2011, prescribed burns now also need to be coordinated with the fire district, partly for fire safety and partly because of the need to limit smoke in the valley.)

Dave Ross, Fish and Wildlife Biologist with the Klamath office, says that they have experience working together with both the Lomakatsi Restoration Project and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, with each organization handling a different aspect of a project, several of which have successfully occurred here in the Colestin valley in recent years.

"All three of us work closely together in partnership fashion to leverage funding, expertise and programs," Ross says.

He encourages anyone interested to:

  • have a look at the Program landowner brochure: PartnersBrochure.pdf

  • visit their Fish and Wildlife Service website:

  • contact him directly:
    David A. Ross
    Fish and Wildlife Biologist
    Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program
    Klamath Falls Fish and Wildlife Office
    1936 California Ave.
    Klamath Falls, OR 97601

    Phone: 541-885-2518
    Fax: 541-885-7837
    Cell: 541-891-7869


For further information about partner organizations, contact:

What would you do in a fire emergency? Your local fire district has a plan. Check it out on our Colestin-Hilt Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) page.

FYI:  The Jackson County Land Steward Program's 2014 Fall-in-the-Field Land Steward Training began Sept. 11th, 2014. 

This is a 13-week in-the-field course that promotes responsible land management by assisting small-acreage landowners in developing a land management plan for personal land-use goals. The Extension's announcement states: "The course is targeting land owners who want to learn how to balance sustainability with their rural lifestyles."

Course topics include fire safety, fuel reduction, water conservation, and promoting healthy trees and forests.

"Participants learn to:  live safely in wildfire-prone areas; reduce yard waste and woody biomass; identify and eradicate noxious weeds; make their own mulch and compost; promote and develop wildlife habitat; maintain healthy trees and forests; [and] conserve water and reduce runoff."

Taught by Natural Resource professionals, the course provides handouts, references, further resources, professional presentations, and field trip site visits to augment the information.

The current course is held at 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 (Mon.-Fri., 8:00 am - 5:00 pm). Dates & times are Sept. 11 to Nov. 13th, on Thursdays from 1-5:30 PM.

The cost before Sept. 1st was $150 per person ($200 per couple); after Sept. 2nd, the cost rose to $175 per person ($225 per couple). Pre-payment is required; "Scholarships and payment plans are available for those in need."

For more information on this fall's course or future sessions of this course, and for application and registration information, email Rhianna Simes, Coordinator, at, or call (541) 776-7371 ext. 211, or see


Previous 2013 bulletins:

     The future of wildfire, and of hotshot firefighting - article
     Huge Fires are the New Normal - article
     Prescott, AZ Hot Shot Crew - in observance

"The future of wildfire, and of hotshot firefighting" - 8/3/13

The above-titled editorial by Bob Sipchen was carried in the Mail Tribune (Medford, OR) on Saturday, August 3rd, 2013, and was originally published by the Los Angeles Times on Sun. July 28th. A brief excerpt follows:

"Along with barked orders and the whine of chain saws, the clank of steel on rock was certainly one of the sounds that rose from a hillside near Yarnell, Ariz., last month as clouds of superheated smoke roiled the sky, portending a tragedy . . .

". . . I knew that for the firefighters, at least one thing that has been offered up as consolation is rooted in truth: They did die doing what they loved, and part of what they loved was the danger.

"I've come to doubt, however, another often-voiced cliche: 'They understood the risks.'

"A federal study released this year joins a growing body of literature connecting the frequency and intensity of wildfires worldwide to the global climate disruption that we have created by living lives dependent on the burning of fossil fuels. The Granite Mountain Hotshots may well have known about this connection. I'm confident that neither hotshots nor anyone else yet has a clue what it all means for the future of computer-modeled firefighting strategy, let alone about the multitude of life-or-death judgment calls firefighters make in any given wildfire."

The complete article may be read on the Los Angeles Times' website at: (page 1) and (page 2).

"Warning: 'These huge fires are the new normal' - AP, 7/6/13

For those who missed the above article published by the Mail Tribune (Medford, OR) on July 6th, 2013, a few excerpted bits follow:

"There's a dangerous but basic equation behind Arizona's killer Yarnell Hill wildfire and other blazes raging across the West this summer:

"More heat, more drought, more fuel and more people in the way are adding up to increasingly ferocious fires...

"While no single wildfire can be pinned solely on climate change, researchers say there are signs that fires are becoming bigger and more common in an increasingly hot and bonedry West...

Wildfires are chewing through twice as many acres per year on average in the United States compared with 40 years ago...

" 'These huge fires are the new normal,' said John Glenn, chief of fire operations for the federal Bureau of Land Management. 'Look at any touchstone - global warming, fuels, invasive species, forest and rangeland health issues - and then you throw in the urban interface. It's almost like this perfect mix. What used to be the anomaly is almost like the normal now.' "

A version of the same story appeared in The Huffington Post on July 5th:

Our hearts are with all of those grieving the loss of the 19 Granite Mountain hotshot firefighters of Prescott, Arizona, killed on Sunday, June 30th, in the Yarnell Hill Fire near the central AZ town of Yarnell (northwest of Phoenix).

The fire, initially sparked by lightning on Friday, June 28th, blazed out of control in triple-digit temperatures and erratic, gusty, hot winds under the state's long-term drought conditions. By Sunday, under the intense peak heat of the day, an unanticipated major wind shift from the southeast caused the fire to blow up to an estimated 2,000 acres. The 19 hotshot crew members, trapped with no escape and overtaken, deployed emergency fire shelters as a last-resort measure; tragically, there was insufficient time, and the heat was far too unendurable, for survival. The Yarnell Hill Fire of nearly 9,000 total acres within mere days is now the deadliest wildfire for firefighters in the U.S. in 80 years.

The CRFD stands in unity with Prescott, its fire department, and its community in the wake of this horrific event. We solemnly observe, salute, and honor the courage and bravery of the 19 members of the hot shot crew and their ultimate sacrifice.

For current information and crew member particulars, see CNN's news page.

The Spring, 2013, Firebrand:

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:

  1. "Fire Season Forecast for Southwest Oregon"
  2. "Fuel Reduction for Your Back 40"
  3. "CERTS Volunteers Doing the Greatest Good"
  4. "Building Safer Neighborhoods Through Firewise Communities"
  5. "Middle Applegate Watershed Pilot Project: A Fresh Approach to Forestry in Southern Oregon"
  6. ODF fuel reduction programs, fire-resistant plant spotlight, resource links, and more

In case you missed it, you can check it out on the RVFPC website at (Look under the right-hand navigation column, & scroll down to "Firebrand Newsletter").

A printed copy is also available upon request by:

  • calling Brian Ballou (ODF) at 541-664-3328,

  • emailing, or

  • writing to: Rogue Valley Fire Prevention Cooperative, P.O. Box 3301, Central Point, OR. 97502.

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."


Also see:

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:
"Colorado wildfires hold a lesson for Oregonians" by Kristin Babbs, published in the Mail Tribune (Medford), July 24th, 2012. (The Tribune now allows 3 free guest visits for reading articles if you are not a subscriber.)

During lightning storms, we rely heavily on the Soda Mountain fire lookout, staffed for the past 24 years by Ken Struck and his wife. Situated twelve miles east of Ashland and over 6,000 feet high, with a bird's-eye view of our district, Ken watches storms, and tracks lightning hits, smoke, and new fire starts using binoculars and a firefinder to pinpoint the exact locations.

Soda Mountain is one of ODF's two last full-time manned fire lookouts in the Southwest Oregon District, as people are replaced by technology at fire lookout stations. Paul Fattig's article in the Medford Mail Tribune is a tribute to Ken and the work he does, as well as an interesting history of the Soda Mountain lookout station.

We in the Colestin-Hilt district continue to greatly appreciate Ken's watchful presence and long-experienced, knowledgeable assistance from Soda Mountain, particularly during lightning storms, and in general, throughout each fire season.

Read Paul Fattig's article " Fire-watcher era nears end: With cameras increasingly replacing human lookouts, Ken Struck, who mans the Soda Mountain station, is among the last of a rare breed." Originally published on Wed. July 28th, 2010, in the Medford Mail Tribune; available online at:

You may have noticed the large fire safety awareness signs that have been in rotation on our fire danger indicator sign structure near Hilt (just south of the CA-OR border) following the end of the 2011 fire season. (The current sign asks, "Do you have a fire plan?" with a diagram of possible escape routes.)

These signs were done and donated to our district by Patty Hood of CalFire.  A huge thanks to Patty, for providing these very visible signs, readable from the road, to enhance fire safety in our valley!

Food for thought: Mt. Ashland Ski Area has been raising funds "to recover from the worst snow year in 20 ski seasons." This is what our local snowpack was really like last winter [2011-12], despite the water year report. (Source: The Mail Tribune, Medford, OR., 6/25/12, p. 4A.)

Long-time CRFD member Cheri Avgeris retired in January, 2011,from the Fire District after over 28 years of volunteer service to our community. A Board member for nearly all of the past 28 years as well as a firefighter and a First Responder throughout these years, Cheri later became our Medical Director for the District's First Responder Emergency Medical Services.

Recently at our annual community picnic, Cheri was given public recognition and honored for her long years of selflessly dedicated service and commitment to the District, complementing a commemorative plaque presented to her by the Board upon her retirement this past year. A brief overview of Cheri's many contributions is available on our Personnel page.


Public meetings followed by a hearing have recently been held for the purpose of explaining Jackson County Forestland-Urban Interface Classification Committee's land identification and classification process, as part of the implementation of the Oregon Forestland-Urban Interface Fire Protection Act, often referred to as Senate Bill 360.

The Jackson County Forestland-Urban Interface Classification Committee and the Oregon Department of Forestry sent letters to more than 13,000 landowners within Jackson county informing them of five public meetings that were held in January 2011. The meetings were to explain the land identification and classification process performed by the committee, as required by the Oregon Forestland-Urban Interface Fire Protection Act, often referred to as Senate Bill 360.

The owners of lots affected by the Oregon Forestland-Urban Interface Fire Protection Act are required to create fuel breaks around their homes and other structures to make homes and other buildings more defensible against wildfire.

For further information, see our Rural-Urban Forest Interface Fire Prevention page.


2010 was the centennial anniversary of 1910's Big Burn, the firestorm that burned millions of acres in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana.  Also called the Big Blowup of 1910, the firestorm was the result of multiple fires that started in June and merged on August 20th, burning three million acres in just twenty-four hours, and killing 84 people.  The U.S. Forest Service headed centennial commemmorations.  You can learn more at:  The July-Aug. 2010 issue of AAA's "Via" magazine (p. 17) also has a short article on this.

Colestin's name (finally spelled correctly!) makes the news:  See The Mail Tribune on Sunday, November 16th, 2008, for reporter Paul Fattig's article entitled

"Drop the 'e' and keep your hands up where we can see them: It's Colestin, not Colestine; got it?"

or use the following link:

Archived Bulletins:

Jackson County Integrated Fire Plan - Upcoming Community Meetings

UPDATE on the West-Wide Energy Corridor DPEIS & background

Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) News

CWPP Phone Tree and Road Signage Projects

Community Announcements

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Jackson County Integrated Fire Plan


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

View 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.)


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UPDATE on the West-Wide Energy Corridor DPEIS
    - the Decision & background


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.

Sincerely yours,

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.


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Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) News:


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).


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CWPP Phone Tree and Road Signage Projects


The "New & Improved Emergency Phone Tree" and Road Signage are two other developments related to our Community Wildfire Protection Plan.  Read more.


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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.



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