4 months after Almeda Fire, JaCo Emergency Manager is out of a job

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. — NBC5 News has confirmed Jackson County Emergency Manager Stacey Anderson-Belt is no longer employed by the county.

In her role as emergency manager, Anderson-Belt was in charge of the county’s response to emergencies, like the Almeda Fire in September.

Fueled by winds rarely seen in the Rogue Valley, the fire on September 8th claimed the lives of three people and burned over 3,000 structures.

The county used it’s ‘citizen alert’ notification system, instead of a county wide emergency alert system because it can warn people in a specific area, like Talent and Phoenix, as opposed to the whole county.

‘Citizen alert’ only works if you’re already signed up for it or have a land line telephone in the affected area. However, after a public records request, NBC5 News learned that Talent never received an alert at all.

County Administrator, Danny Jordan, tells us Tuesday was Anderson-Belt’s last day with the county.

He declined to answer whether she resigned or was fired.

“We’ll do an open recruitment to recruit an emergency manager. We currently have Oregon Emergency Management supporting us with one of their staff, who is their regional coordinator for emergency managers,” said Jordan.

Anderson-Belt released a statement to us in October about the county’s response to the fire.

She said decisions about notices are based on multiple factors and no single individual makes them.

She went on to say, “Learning what was done well and what could have gone better will be a great learning asset for our community. I know people are hurting and upset and looking for answers. While we were doing everything we could to help, we know our performance may have fallen short of public expectations during this unprecedented fire event and we are working hard to help our citizens recover as we move forward.”

Jackson County has contracted with an outside agency to conduct a full report on it’s response to the Almeda Fire.

The report is expected to be released this spring.

NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor's Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology. In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she's not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.
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