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Fire crews prepare for battle

The remote Collier Butte Fire, burning about 17 miles east of Gold Beach, posed no threat to homes as of Friday afternoon. Submitted photo.

Wildland firefighters and support teams trickled in to Curry County Friday, preparing to attack a 777-acre fire just east of Collier Butte peak in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, 17 miles southeast of Gold Beach.

The Collier Butte Fire is threatening no structures, and fire crews will try to keep it contained to the east, in the wilderness area, said public information officer Elizabeth Shepherd. 

A soft orange haze hovered in the sky to the east Thursday and Friday, and light ash was falling as far south as Brookings.

Dozens of fire and medical vehicles from throughout the West filled the Events Center on the Beach parking lot Thursday, a smattering of tents had been staked down on fairground lawns, a Sysco semi arrived to drop off food, and workers were busy establishing an incident command center in the Docia Sweet building.


Man stabbed, two arrested at campsite

Two transients were arrested and a third is recovering from a stab wound following an altercation among the three at a campsite at the South Fork of the Chetco River, authorities said Wednesday.

Angel Grant-Raines, 23, was arrested on charges of assault II and menacing. Maria Delcristo, 27, was arrested on charges of assault IV.

The victim was Frank Howard, 32.

At 5:35 p.m. Monday, the Curry County Sheriff’s Office responded to Loeb State Park where they found Howard with an apparent stab wound in the back, said Sheriff John Ward.


Brookings cougar sightings reported

Chetco River resident Gordon Later was driving along the river into Brookings Friday morning when something ran across his path: a cougar.

It’s one of several wildlife sightings reported in recent weeks.

“It came up from the river, crossed the road and went up the bank on the far side of the road,” Later said. “I’ve seen large black bears up there before, but it’s the first time I’ve seen a cougar.”

Later saw the animal while driving on North Bank Chetco River Road about 5 miles east of town, near the Riverside Market.


CHD annexation closer to ballot status

Curry Health Network CEO Ginny Razo breathed an audible “phew” Wednesday when Curry County commissioners finished an hour-and-a-half discussion and agreed to place the hospital district’s annexation question on the November ballot.

The ballot measure, if approved by the state, will ask voters in the hospital district if they want to have the southern end of the county join their district. Conversely, a separate question will ask those in the south end if they want to be annexed. Voters in both areas must approve their respective questions for the annexation to go through.

The district currently goes from just south of Pistol River north to Langlois, east to Agness and the county border. 


Remote Collier Fire spreads smoke, ash over the coast

A remote, lightning-sparked wildfire burning about 17 miles southeast of Gold Beach near Collier Peak has created a haze of smoke and floating ash along the coast today, but fire officials say no structures are threatened at this time.

The Collier Fire, sparked by a dry lightning storm that blew through the area last Friday, has charred about 147 acres as of this afternoon. Fire officials hope to keep it contained to the east and in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness area.




Transient stabbed, two arrested following fight on Chetco River


Suspects Maria Delcristo, left, and Angel Grant-Raines.

Two transients have been arrested and a third is recovering from stab wounds following an altercation between the three at a campsite at the South Fork of the Chetco River, authorities said Wednesday.

Angel Grant-Raines, 23, was arrested on charges of assault II and menacing. Maria Delcristo, 27, on charges of assault IV.

The victim was Frank Howard, 32.


Pirate festival weekend

Children celebrate their inner pirate during a free-for-all swashbuckling activity at last yearís festival.

For those with pirate garb gathering dust in the closet, this is the weekend to dig it out — or risk death by walking the plank — for the fifth annual Pirates of the Pacific Festival this Friday through Sunday at the Port of Brookings Harbor.

Organizers Bruce Ellis and Mike Moran are looking forward to seeing more people than ever this year. In the past, it has drawn thousands of visitors.


Another successful country music fest

The second annual Cape Blanco Country Music Festival was even bigger this year, drawing a crowd of 18,000 and fans from around the country.

“We are ecstatic with how the festival went,” said Anne Hankins, president of Boots ‘N’ Beach LLC, the festival promoter that organized the event. “We increased from 14,000 last year and sold out.”

Hankins added that the main issue with the show, traffic congestion, largely resolved itself by the second day of the festival.

“Last year, with only about 14,000, people could just come in. This year, with more crowds, there was a traffic backup on Friday. But everything worked out by Saturday,” Hankins said.


Heat, sea salt affect water supplies

Rain, high temperatures, fires, salt intrusion and water quality — these things are the talk of the town this week in Curry County.

An unexpected downpour of rain to the east of Brookings raised the water level in the Chetco River Saturday afternoon — but the dry lightning it produced farther inland was blamed for dozens of fires ignited in the forest, as well.

The rain boosted water levels in the Chetco River from a record low of 50 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 57 cfs, according to the gauge monitored by the U.S. Geological Society.

But the high temperatures earlier in the week — 100 at the Pilot offices and a reported 105 in Harbor — also increased demand from water customers, said Brookings City Manager Gary Milliman. 


Brown, citizens brainstorm county priorities

While Curry County Commissioner Susan Brown’s public forums last week were about clarifying issues concerning the county’s fiscal situation, this week’s round of meetings was all about brainstorming.

Brown came to this week’s public forums in Brookings and Harbor equipped with a series of ideas, and she was ready to discuss ways to save the county money — and, possibly, create new revenue.

“We’ve had great discussion over the last two weeks,” Brown told a group of about 15 in Harbor Tuesday. “We’ve had some wonderful, wonderful input.”


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