State of Emergency

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Fri, August 17 2012 at 3:45 PM, Updated: Fri, August 17 2012 at 3:54 PM

Governor Kitzhaber declares a statewide 'State of Emergency' due to the potential for wildfire...

That declaration could clear additional resources to help battle the 84,000 acre 'Barry Point' fire...

Deputy State Forester Paul Bell visited the Barry Point fire on Thursday.  That fire has now grown to over 130 square miles...

"Come down to this fire because of the complexity of it, and trying to touch bases with our folks, and see how things are going, and making sure folks are getting everything they need."

The Governor's 'State of Emergency' declaration clears the way for additional resources, such as National Guard helicopters.

But U.S. Forest Service helicopter crew member Collin Brozka notes that fire fighters will still need some help from Mother Nature...

"The last couple days it's slowed down a little bit because there's so much smoke, the pilots can't see.  They don't fly if they can't see and be safe about it."

The fire has been spreading to the east, and southeast.

Ashley Dubrey of the Oregon Department of Forestry reports that evacuation notices are still in place in several areas...

"We have 66 residences, 5 commercial properties, and about 130 outbuildings.  There's a lot of grazers out there, a lot of little outbuildings."

The Deputy State Forester notes that the danger exists beyond the 'Barry Point' fire...

"Right now, we're in pretty critical fire weather across the state of Oregon."

The cost of suppression efforts on the Barry Point fire have now topped ten million dollars.

The Lake County fairgrounds is serving as a command post for over 1300 fire fighters.  The hope to move out before the Lake County Fair gets underway on August 30th.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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