Josephine Co. Sheriff's Office
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Updated Community Watch Program - 10/17/14
Grants Pass, OR - The Josephine County Sheriff's Office is pleased to announce work on the development of a new type of Community Watch Program. Sheriff Gilbertson has been researching additional options for a Neighborhood Watch program that would combine a sense of community and security, better options for privacy and a level of preparedness that other style Neighborhood Watch Programs may not have offered. His research led to a program developed by the Washington Military Department Emergency Management Division. That Program is now used in 43 States. Elements of the program have been used in Oregon as well.

The Community Watch Program would set up groups of 5-7 homes in rural area and 15-20 neighborhood homes. This program would be an expansion of the current groups and would not disband them. Only information that individual homeowners wish to share would be gathered within the group. It is possible to be part of the group and only have one or two other neighbors of your choice be aware of the information being shared. This program will teach communities how to prepare for disaster and help each other until first responders can assist. It also can map skills that could assist first responders and neighbors such has people with medical skills that live in the area. Help could be in the form of knowing which people have the proper tools to shut off gas lines or tools to rescue others. Citizens would also be taught how to be vigilant and how to deal with crime situations. The goal of this watch program is to have a continuous band of neighborhoods participating.

The Sheriff's concern for the community safety coupled with the lack of funded resources has led him to look toward other options to help his community. Josephine County has the potential to be involved in many types of disaster situations. We have seen the threat of wildfire, flooding and winter storms, but we also know that we have a 40% chance or greater of an earthquake of a strong magnitude effecting our community. With today's dependence on electronic equipment even a power grid outage could cause many types of problems. Any of these disaster situations could overtax the ability of first responders to help everyone at the same time. Neighbor helping neighbor is another option to help individuals and families carry on until other types of help could become available.

Sheriff Gilbertson has listened to the community's concerns in the past and knows that with new programs come new questions. While this program is in development stage, it offers an exciting possibility of helping the community.
Onion Mountain Fire Evacuation Advisories Update - 09/21/14
Grants Pass, OR - Effective Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 1:00pm, there are no evacuation level changes, however, at 6:00pm tonight all of the areas lifted below as Level 1 will be lifted. This will mean there will be no more evacuation zones for this fire. the same Level 1 areas are still in effect, As of 6:00pm tonight ALL Level 1 Evacuation Advisories will be lifted, there will then be NO evacuation areas for this fire.. Please be careful while recreating in the forest this weekend as fire season is still in effect with an extreme fire danger warning. Local residents and visitors to the Merlin area are advised to drive cautiously and adhere to posted closure notices for both public and firefighter safety. Even after the Level 1 areas are released, these recreation and road closure will continue. Recreation, forest area closures are as follows: Sam Brown Campground and Horse Camp, Briggs Campground, Myers Campground, Portions of Forest Road (FR) 2500, FR 2509, and FR 2706.
The fire was estimated this morning to be approximately 4105 acres with 40% containment.

Yesterday, forecasted winds did not materialize over the fire and crews were able to focus on patrol and mop-up activities. The affect of recent rain was still evident on much of the fire, giving crews continued opportunities to make good progress with suppression activities.

Firefighters all around the fire perimeter continued to reinforce existing lines, monitor interior areas, and mop-up any hot spots found. Hose lays were extended along the perimeter, bringing water to many sections of the line, thus increasing the effectiveness of the mop-up activities. Several hot spots were found 60 to 100 feet inside existing lines. These were actively treated by ground crews and should present no serious threat to the current perimeter.

Minimal Impact Suppression Tanks (portable water tanks) were placed by helicopter in remote sections of the fire. These provide water to hose lines where water sources are inadequate and/or unavailable. Helicopters will be used to fill and resupply these tanks in support of mop-up activities.

Today, crews will continue to monitor and mop-up along all sections of the perimeter. Helicopters will support ground crews as needed. Chippers will be used to treat and scatter brush removed from roadways that are being used as contingency or control lines. The weather is expected to cool gradually over the next few days; humidity will rise; winds will be light out of the west. This should decrease the chance of active fire developing. Possible wetting rain is expected Wednesday and Thursday.

LEVEL ONE Evacuation Advisory ALL being lifted at 6:00pm Tonight, There will no longer be any Evacuation areas due to this fire:
1. The entire Pickett Creek area, including Pickett Creek Rd, West Pickett Creek Rd and all roads off of those. Everything North of the Robertson Bridge on the West side of the Rogue River.
2. All of the Shan Creek Rd. system from Riverbanks Rd. to the west.
3. All of Taylor Creek Rd. (FS25 Rd) road system from Galice Road, including connection to the 2509 Road that enters Hwy. 199 at the top of Hayes Hill.
4. Galice Creek Rd. from Galice Rd. to Soldier Camp.

Reminder of what a Level 1 consists of: A Level I Evacuation is "Be Ready". "Residents should be aware of the danger that exists in their area, monitor emergency services websites and local media outlets for information.Access to the Fire area is being limited by multiple staffed road blocks on all sides of the fire. For up to date notifications, please sign up for FlashAlert notifications go to https://flashalert.net and sign up for alerts from the various agencies. For more specific fire questions, you can call the Onion Mountain Fire Information staffed by the Fire Team at 541-471-7441 or view online at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4111/.
Attached Media Files: PDF VERSION OF PRESS RELEASE
Onion Mountain Fire Update - 09/20/14
Release Date: September 20, 2014, 1:00PM
Onion Mountain Fire Evacuation Advisories

Grants Pass, OR - Effective Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 1:00pm, there are no evacuation level changes, the same Level 1 areas are still in effect. These will be reassessed Monday based on the fire behavior this weekend with the hotter, drier weather. Please see below the advisories that are still in effect. The fire was estimated this morning to be approximately 4105 acres with 30% containment.

Firefighters fortified existing containment lines by wetting down the fire's edge with water pumps and hoses, extinguishing burning material within the fire perimeter. Crews made progress establishing and securing fireline on previously unlined areas, including the west and northwest flanks, leaving most of the fire with at least a minimal control line. Several spot fires found outside of the fire perimeter were corralled and secured during the previous shift.

Yesterday's clear skies allowed helicopters to drop water on areas of heat inside the fire perimeter. Air operations will continue supporting ground troops today, especially in areas posing containment issues due to inaccessible terrain. Dozers finished a contingency line east of the fire, providing an additional safeguard between the fire perimeter and residences.

Firefighters will brace for another round of hot and dry weather today as near-record temperatures may reach 100 degrees with minimum humidity in the upper teens to lower 20s. Strong east winds transitioning to west winds in the afternoon and an unstable atmosphere will also challenge containment efforts on all flanks by stimulating fire activity.

Please be careful while recreating in the forest this weekend as fire season is still in effect with an extreme fire danger warning. Local residents and visitors to the Merlin area are advised to drive cautiously and adhere to posted closure notices for both public and firefighter safety. Recreation, forest area closures are as follows: Sam Brown Campground and Horse Camp, Briggs Campground, Myers Campground, Portions of Forest Road (FR) 2500, FR 2509, and FR 2706.

LEVEL ONE Evacuation Advisory STILL IN EFFECT are:
1. The entire Pickett Creek area, including Pickett Creek Rd, West Pickett Creek Rd and all roads off of those. Everything North of the Robertson Bridge on the West side of the Rogue River.
2. All of the Shan Creek Rd. system from Riverbanks Rd. to the west.
3. All of Taylor Creek Rd. (FS25 Rd) road system from Galice Road, including connection to the 2509 Road that enters Hwy. 199 at the top of Hayes Hill.
4. Galice Creek Rd. from Galice Rd. to Soldier Camp.

Reminder of what a Level 1 consists of: A Level I Evacuation is "Be Ready". "Residents should be aware of the danger that exists in their area, monitor emergency services websites and local media outlets for information.

Access to the Fire area is being limited by multiple staffed road blocks on all sides of the fire.

For up to date notifications, please sign up for FlashAlert notifications go to https://flashalert.net and sign up for alerts from the various agencies.

For more specific fire questions, you can call the Onion Mountain Fire Information staffed by the Fire Team at 541-471-7441 or view online at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4111/.