FD3 fire chief interviews planned; WC fire goes underground in “duff”

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Lois Wilson will serve as president of the Fire District 3 Board of Directors for the 2010-11 year and John Curtis will be the vice-president. Cindy Hauser will act as the secretary/treasurer.

Interim fire Chief Randy Iverson announced several promotions and re-assignments that have taken place in recent months. They include: Operations Chief-Greg Winfrey; Deputy Fire Marshal-Michelle Fuss; Fire Captain-Rob English; Fire Engineer-Kenny Herinckx; Battalion Chief-Mike Hussey and Battalion Chief/Volunteer-Scott Tuers (re-classification.)

Contract renewal for  Dr. Rostyku as physician supervisor, for a fee of $8,838 for the year was approved. This reflects a 2.5 percent increase. Richard Brewster, C.P.A., will continue as auditor for a fee of $8,000, reflecting a 14 percent increase. Dispatch services with Emergency Communications of Southern Oregon (ECSO) were approved at a cost of $312,346.55. This represents a 7.2 percent increase over the previous fiscal year. Greg Winfrey said ECSO’s budget has basically doubled. Jackson County owns the new facility, ECSO leases it. He said rates were based on population and assessed value with police picking up 70 percent of the costs and fire agencies 30 percent. Winfrey said this is because the police have considerably more communication needs on an ongoing basis than do the fire agencies.

It was agreed that after the end of  the contract for Interim Chief Iverson, which is July 31, the contract will be reviewed on a month-by-month basis depending upon the hiring of a new fire chief.

There was considerable discussion regarding the status of policies. Iverson asked the board to approve a format, which they did,  as numerous revisions are needed in the policies.   

Iverson recognized the efforts by all involved in the recent White City fire. He said they had every resource from Grants Pass to Ashland assisting. “If anymore resources were needed they would have had to come from Klamath Falls or Roseburg,” said Iverson. Oregon Department of Forestry was battling its own lightning fires and was not available. Iverson said the buildings went up in flames in 10 minutes, and it took 5 ½ hours to handle the entire fire. Crews were on the scene all day Saturday and Sunday. There were no injuries and no one had heat exhaustion, despite the conditions. This speaks well for the crews and the system.

The bare ground, which burned as far as Agate and Antelope Road, was once home to logging operations and various mills. The smoke continues to rise, said Fire Marshal Hugh Holden. It is coming from all of the timber operations over the last 60-plus years. This means there are many feet of burnable materials, possibly up to six or even feet, under the surface, referred to as “duff.” The fire has moved underground in these areas, said Holden.

Fire District 3 is working with affected companies to guide them in doing what is needed to extinguish the fire. The process involves turning the duff and wetting it down, which requires heavy equipment and a source of water. The crews are continually keeping a watchful eye on the area and continue turning the ground.

Officials are still trying to determine the origin of the fire that completely destroyed two businesses, damaged several and burned several acres of ground. Anyone with photo of the beginning of the fire or anyone who was in the area when it started is urged to call or stop by Fire District 3.

An executive session was held to consider employment of a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent following the regular board meeting.

The board will advise ESCI (Emergency Services Consulting International) of applicants for the position of fire chief by July 20. Applicants selected for further testing and interviews will be in the district Aug. 27 and 28. 
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent

 

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