Klamath, Lake county wildfire dispatch operations consolidate

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Wed, May 28 2014 at 3:41 PM, Updated: Wed, May 28 2014 at 9:57 PM

Fire season in Klamath and Lake counties is expected to go into effect on Monday...and there's a big change this year in the way fire crews will be dispatched.

When a wildfire breaks out on Klamath or Lake county this year, dispatch operations will be handled out of one office instead of two.

Dispatch operations from Klamath Falls have moved to Lakeview.

The decision to consolidate dispatch operations to Lakeview hasn't been without controversy...one of the main concerns has been the potential loss of jobs in Klamath Falls.

"We lost a few."  Notes Erica Hupp of the Fremont-Winema National Forest.  "But the economic impact study that we did showed that it would have been more of an effect on Lake county if they lost the jobs over there."

Hupp says combining dispatch operations will allow for faster response times...

"It just helps with efficiency."

Nine people will work at the Lakeview Interagency Fire Center, dispatching crews and resources over South Central Oregon.

An open house will be held on Monday the 2nd at the Lakeview Interagency Fire Center at 1000 South 9th St. from 3 to 5.

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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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