Local News

Flat Fire Relatively Quiet on Thursday as New Command Team Takes Over
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The largest wildfire currently burning in Oregon was relatively quiet on Thursday, even though extreme heat and adverse weather conditions continued. In its first report this morning, Southwest Incident Management Team 3 said the Flat Fire was holding at 33,895 acres with containment still at 58%. Team 3 took over command of the wildfire from Northern Rockies Management Team 2. Total personnel assigned to the Flat Fire today is 573 including 11 hand crews, 21 engines, 20 water tenders, eight masticators, four helicopters and three bulldozers. Hot, dry conditions contributed to low rates of fire spread in interior islands of unburned fuels. A small number of torching trees were observed, but the flames did not threaten fire lines. All firefighting resources remain engaged, patrolling containment lines while monitoring isolated heat sources on the edge and in the interior of the blaze. Several crews have been sent to the Six Rivers National Forest to assist with the Smith River Complex of fires in extreme northern California that were ignited this week by lightning strikes. Visual assessments of the fire perimeter with ground and/or aviation resources continue. Air resources will continue to monitor the fire and remain available if needed. Firefighters will continue working toward full containment of the Flat Fire.
Posted on 8/18/23 6:43AM by Sam Marsh
 

JMET Raided Illegal Cannabis Growing Operation on Naue Way near O'Brien
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The Josephine Marijuana Enforcement Team (JMET) raided yet another illegal cannabis growing operation in the Illinois Valley this week. On Wednesday, JMET -- assisted by Josephine County Public Health & Building Safety -- served a search warrant in the 1,000-block of Naue Way near O'Brien. During execution of the warrant, 380 marijuana plants were seized and destroyed. The site also had multiple solid waste code violations, which could result in the criminal forfeiture of the property. According to JMET, the primary suspect was not at the location during the raid. If located, they will be charged with Unlawful Manufacture and Unlawful Possession of Marijuana. Detectives said the investigation is ongoing and no further details in the case are being released at this time.
Posted on 8/18/23 6:40AM by Sam Marsh
 

Deputies Jailed Man for Hitting Man with Hammer and Threatening Teen Boy
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office jailed a man for hitting another man with a hammer and threatening the victim's son at a Selma area residence this week. The Sheriff's Office reports deputies arrested 25-year-old Jacob Jantz for the violent incident that occurred in the 600-block of Terrace Heights Drive around 10:15 p.m. Wednesday. Deputies said dispatchers received a 9-1-1 call from someone who said Jantz hit their father in the face with a hammer and the victim was bleeding. The suspect also reportedly threatened the 14-year-old son of the victim and slashed a vehicle tire before he fled the scene in a Ford Explorer. The victim declined medical treatment and the reason for the violent attack was not disclosed. Deputies searched the area and located the suspect vehicle on Forest Creek Road where they placed Jantz into custody. He was with an unidentified woman. Jantz was transported to Grants Pass and lodged at the Josephine County Jail for 4th-Degree Assault, 2nd-Degree Criminal Mischief and two counts of Reckless Endangering.
Posted on 8/18/23 6:39AM by Sam Marsh
 

Deputies Arrested Man for Scaring People with Fake Gun in Sunny Valley
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office arrested a man for threatening people with a phony gun at the Covered Bridge Store in Sunny Valley this week. According to the Sheriff's Office, deputies responded to a disturbance involving 41-year-old Brandon John Berry at the store on Sunny Valley Loop on Wednesday at about 12:15 a.m.. Deputies said a store employee told them Berry pulled up in a 2003 Chevrolet Astro minivan, got out of the vehicle with a firearm in his hand and threatened several people. The worker said the suspect was yelling, belligerent and appeared to be under the influence when he made threats to "blow people's heads off." Upon arrival, deputies contacted Berry and ordered him to drop the gun, which he did. Turns out the firearm was actually a plastic prop pirate gun which the victims believed was real. He told deputies he was pointing the fake gun at people he thought were going to hit him with a shovel. Witnesses were in fear for their lives. Berry was transported to Grants Pass and lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Menacing and Disorderly Conduct.
Posted on 8/18/23 6:30AM by Sam Marsh
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Firefighters Got Quick Knockdown on Robertson Bridge Road Grass Fire
Firefighters got a quick knockdown on a grass fire near Merlin yesterday, but not before it had spread to just under a quarter-acre. Rural Metro Fire Department and the Oregon Department of Forestry responded to the fire in the 2500-block of Robertson Bridge Road on Thursday at 1:54 p.m.. The fire was completely extinguished and mopped up in short order. Rural Metro officials said some electrical wiring in a residential yard was being looked at by investigators, but the investigation by ODF is continuing. As a measure of prevention, officials said residents should take a look around their properties for any exposed, unmaintained or worn electrical components as well as electric fencing used for livestock containment and mitigate any potential for an unintentional ignition.
Posted on 8/18/23 6:27AM by Sam Marsh
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Rural Metro & IVFD Firefighters Practiced Rescue Skills at GP Family YMCA
In between battling blazes this week, 10 members of Rural Metro Fire Department and a guest firefighter from the Illinois Valley Fire District took to the water at the Grants Pass Family YMCA to practice some rescue skills. Under the guidance of two Rural Metro fire professionals, tasks included contact rescues of a panicked and combative victim as well as the extraction of an unconscious or injured victim using a backboard. The professionals were identified as rescue instructor and veteran Firefighter Turnbull along with retired US Coast Guard rescue swimmer Lieutenant Fien. As an "all-hazard" service provider in Josephine County, Rural Metro's mission is to be as prepared as possible for whatever may happen at any time. Officials thank citizens for their support that ensures proper preparedness for emergencies.
Posted on 8/18/23 6:18AM by Sam Marsh
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Redwood Highway Remains Closed as US Forest Service Battles Smith River Complex
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It appears the main route between Southern Oregon and the coast will remain closed for the foreseeable future as lightning-sparked wildfires have made US Highway 199 impassable. The Six Rivers National Forest received approximately 150 lightning strikes this week, resulting in at least 27 confirmed fires. There are 16 confirmed fires in the Gasquet Ranger District with an estimated acreage of 7,300 acres. The Smith River Complex is burning in extremely rugged terrain with limited access. California Interagency Management Team 15 has assumed command of the Smith River Complex that is threatening numerous communities, highly-used travel corridors, critical transmission lines, and other natural and cultural resources. The Del Norte County Sheriff's Office has placed several evacuation orders for affected communities. The American Red Cross has opened an evacuation shelter at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds in Crescent City. US Highway 199 remains fully-closed in Del Norte County from the Oregon border to Pioneer Road near Gasquet. The Oregon Department of Transportation is encouraging motorists to use Highway 42 and 42S to reach US Highway 101. No other routes should be taken due to wildfire suppression activity and road hazards.
Posted on 8/18/23 6:15AM by Sam Marsh
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Valley of the Rogue State Park Rest Area off I-5 will Permanently Close on September 5th
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Valley of the Rogue State Park will no longer include a freeway rest area starting next month. The Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department has announced it will continue to manage the park as a day-use area and campground with a focus on recreation beginning September 5th. Valley of the Rogue State Park is located at milepost 45 of Interstate 5 between the cities of Rogue River and Gold Hill. The next closest rest stop is 18 miles north at Manzanita Rest Area in the North Valley area of Grants Pass. For southbound travelers, the next closest rest stop is the Suncrest Rest Area near Talent. The state park day-use area includes two restrooms, a fenced area for off-leash dogs, a boat launch for the Rogue River, access to the Rogue River Greenway, picnic tables, an Applegate Trail interpretive kiosk and wood carving displays. The day-use area will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily and hours will change seasonally. Overnight parking will be prohibited in the day-use area and restrooms will not be available when the area is closed. The park will continue to operate its campground with 175 campsites including full hook-up sites, tent sites, group sites and yurts.
Posted on 8/18/23 6:12AM by Sam Marsh
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Gold Hill Seeks Full-Time City Manager to Oversee Local Municipal Organization
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The City of Gold Hill is seeking a full-time City Manager to oversee all aspects of the operations of the municipal organization in western Jackson County. According to Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development, Inc. (SOREDI), prior city manager or department head-level management in municipal government is highly desired. SOREDI officials said extensive experience working with elected bodies to provide quality information, options and guidance in both formal and informal settings is also desired. The leader of a small group of dedicated staff must be ready, willing and able to perform a wide spectrum of tasks and duties. The Gold Hill City Manager position is an excellent opportunity to be involved with every aspect of municipal operations and governance with a mayor and city council eager to support and share leadership with the new city manager. For employment information and other details, contact Interim City Manager Bill Landis at (541)-855-1525 or apply by e-mail to "bill.landis@cityofgoldhill.com."
Posted on 8/18/23 6:10AM by Sam Marsh
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Authorities Seek Help Finding Woman Last Seen in Illinois Valley on July 16th
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UPDATE: MISSING PERSON HAS BEEN LOCATED.

The Josephine County Sheriff's Office is asking for public assistance in locating a missing woman who was last seen in the Illinois Valley more than a month ago. The Sheriff's Office received a report that 26-year-old Ivana Lynn Balcom was missing. The reporting party stated that they last had phone contact with Balcom on July 16th and she was in the Waldo Road/Redwood Highway area at the time. Balcom is described as a white female adult, 5-feet-1-inch tall and 100 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. No other information was available. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Ivana Balcom is urged to contact the Sheriff's Office at (541)-474-5123. Please reference Case #23-21169.
Posted on 8/17/23 1:32PM by Sam Marsh
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Crews Responded to 2 New Fires on National Forests Due to Lightning Strikes
Firefighters responded to two new fires on the Rogue River-Siskiyou and Klamath National Forests after lightning struck again across the region last night. The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest reported approximately 30 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes in southwest Oregon while the Klamath National Forest reported multiple fires growing rapidly and challenging resources in the Smith River National Recreation Area. Firefighters from the Wild Rivers Ranger District were dispatched to a new start called the Mile Fire on Illinois River Road near Six Mile Campground. The fire was halted at just 1/10th of an acre due to an aggressive attack. The cause of the fire was under investigation although lightning is suspected. Crews from the Siskiyou Mountains Ranger District responded to aid the Klamath National Forest on a new start within a mile of the forest border. The Red Fire was called in by a large air tanker at approximately three acres. When crews arrived, it was four acres and displayed moderate fire behavior. Resources were able to hold the new fire at four acres and some crews remained on scene overnight.
Posted on 8/17/23 11:46AM by Sam Marsh
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Deputies Jailed Man for Hitting Man with Hammer and Threatening Teen Boy
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office jailed a man for hitting another man with a hammer and threatening the victim's son at a Selma area residence last night. The Sheriff's Office reports deputies arrested 25-year-old Jacob Jantz for the violent incident that occurred in the 600-block of Terrace Heights Drive around 10:15 p.m. Wednesday. Deputies said dispatchers received a 9-1-1 call from someone who said Jantz hit their father in the face with a hammer and the victim was bleeding. The suspect also reportedly threatened the 14-year-old son of the victim and slashed a vehicle tire before he fled the scene in a Ford Explorer. The victim declined medical treatment and the reason for the violent attack was not disclosed. Deputies searched the area and located the suspect vehicle on Forest Creek Road where they placed Jantz into custody. He was with an unidentified woman. Jacob Jantz was transported to Grants Pass and lodged at the Josephine County Jail for 4th-Degree Assault, 2nd-Degree Criminal Mischief and two counts of Reckless Endangering.
Posted on 8/17/23 11:44AM by Sam Marsh
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