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Light rain little help for firefighters

The precipitation that misted the southern end of Oregon Thursday night proved to be a double-edged sword for the firefighters battling the Collier Ridge Fire in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness.

“It’s helpful,” said U.S. Forest Service public information officer Richard Reuse. “It slows things down. However, the operations people would like to be doing burnout operations, and when you get moisture. … it’s helpful, but it can cause some difficulty for them.”

The fire ignited when a dry lightning storm moved through the area Aug. 2, sparking a wildfire that has burned 5,181 acres in steep, rugged terrain filled with snags left by the Biscuit Fire of 2002. It is 15 percent contained, which means fire crews have put in place 15 percent of the lines in which they hope to hold the fire. 


Bad water solution: move sandbar

All that stands between Harbor and fresh drinking water is a sandbar.

But moving it could take an act of the governor or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife agency.

“We’ve been working with the city, the county, the governor’s office to rectify this,” Harbor Water Superintendent Dave Van Cleave told the board at its regular meeting Thursday evening, regarding the saltwater intrusion into the community’s water system this summer.

“And we have another high tide at the end of the month,” he added, “so we’re probably looking at it again unless we get rain or get something done with this river.”


City enters second round of disaster funding competition

Brookings City Manager Gary Milliman announced at a county forum last week that the city has progressed to the second phase of a competition to get emergency funding for natural disasters. 

Oregon was selected earlier this year as a finalist in the National Disaster Resilience Competition, in which cities from all around the United States vie for part of a nearly $1 billion fund to help prepare for natural disasters. After the first round of the competition, in which all U.S. states and several individual communities were invited to participate, the competitors have been narrowed down to 14 municipal and 26 state governments. The remaining applicants will now propose a series of projects to help secure their cities in case of a disaster.


Vehicle overturns on 101

A late model Lexus SUV collided with a tree and rolled down the embankment of the southbound lane of Highway 101 near Martin Ranch Road.

A Brookings couple escaped with minor injuries after rolling their vehicle on Highway 101 north of Brookings this afternoon. 
Emergency crews responded to the accident around 1:45 p.m. on Highway 101 at Martin Ranch Road where a car rolled over, trapping two inside. 


Feel-good music for the soul: Wild River Music Fest

Hot Buttered Rum

Contemporary folk, rock, bluegrass and Americana music will fill Brookings’ Azalea Park ball field when national acts such as Hot Buttered Rum, T Sisters and the Dead Winter Carpenters take the stage at the Wild Rivers Music Festival this weekend (Aug. 15-16).

The new, two-day event — 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday — will also feature festival favorites Moon Mountain Ramblers, Achilles Wheel, Supermule and Patchy Sanders.


Collier Butte Fire: Public wildfire meeting Thursday

The U.S. Forest Service will hold a community meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Brookings-Harbor High School gymnasium to discuss the Collier Butte Fire burning in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness and national forest about 18 miles southeast of Gold Beach.

The Collier Butte Fire, ignited by lightning east of Collier Butte Aug. 2, has burned almost 4,000 acres and is 5 percent contained. No structures are threatened, nor are any major roads or highways closed due to the incident.

Almost 600 firefighters are combating the blaze, along with six helicopters, 10 engines,  two dozers and nine water tenders.


Gold Beach council mulls UGB annexation

The Gold Beach City Council will tackle an issue that has proved to be divisive for Curry County in the past — annexation.

Councilor Tamie Kaufman spoke to her colleagues at Monday’s meeting, detailing the potential benefits of annexing a portion of the city’s Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) into Gold Beach. The area includes Rogue Shores, Rogue Hills and East and West Wedderburn.

Kaufman researched the issue as part of her senior project as a student at Eastern Oregon University.

“In 2010, we found that citizens wanted 24/7 police coverage,” Kaufman said.


Voters to decide CHD annexation, lodging tax

Voters this November will decide the fate of two issues, the latest being a question asking voters to approve a transient lodging tax of 6 percent on all lodges, hotels, inns and other facilities.

The other ballot question originates from Curry Health District, one asking those currently in the district if they want to annex the south end of the county, and another asking those in the south end if they want to be annexed into the district. The question has tax implications for all involved, and the annexation cannot proceed without voter approval on both questions.


BLM extends comment period on controversial plan

A federal agency is giving the public extra time to review its sweeping new resource management plan for timber harvest, source water production and recreation in Oregon’s forests, but that isn’t likely to satisfy two Curry County officials with concerns about the document.

The Bureau of Land Management’s plan would examine, and potentially revise, the current harvesting policies for several districts in Western Oregon — including the Coos Bay district, which encompasses Curry County.

Commissioner Susan Brown recently expressed concern about the potential change in policy with harvesting of O&C (Oregon and California) lands. According to Brown, the change in plans could decrease the acreage of O&C lands available for harvest.

“This plan will negatively impact Coos and Curry counties,” Brown said.


Brookings desalination facility considered

A class of environmental engineering students from Humboldt State University will visit Brookings for a week this month to gather information to determine if the area is a good candidate for a desalination plant.

A desalination plant takes water from the ocean and removes the salt; half of the end product is potable water and the rest a salty brine that must be disposed of, often back into the ocean.

The results of the students’ work could tie into a competition in which the city is vying for millions of dollars in disaster preparedness funding from the federal government. 


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