California Wildfires: Latest Updates And What You Need To Know

Aug 13, 2018
Getty Images via NPR

Updated Sunday, August 12, at 11:33 a.m.

Firefighters are battling more than a dozen wildfires throughout California — including some of the largest in the state’s history.

Massachusetts writer and song-singer Heather Maloney celebrates the release her 2018 EP, Just Enough Sun. The six songs (five new originals and a cover of Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall") were recorded as mostly single-take, live performances in a room where instruments bled into vocal mics and vocals into instruments.

Emergency Room Visits, Wait Times On The Rise In California

Aug 10, 2018
BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons

California’s emergency departments are becoming more crowded — a trend experts say indicates larger problems in the health system.

California Air National Guard

Thousands of people lost their homes when wildfires swept through California north of the Bay Area last year.  And many of those people got confusing and just plain bad information from insurance adjusters sent to help them get back on their feet. 

Attorney Jon Eisenberg, who lost a house in the Oakland fire of 1991 and nearly lost his Healdsburg home last year, helped some of last year's fire victims untangle the insurance/legal snarl. 


Camas Davis was a magazine editor with a desire to simplify her life. 

So she left New York for a job in her native Oregon, only to watch her dreams come apart in short order. 

So what next?  That's the story she tells in her memoir Killing It: An Education, about taking up with a family of French pig farmers and butchers, learning a whole new trade and outlook on life. 

Life, death, and dinner have not been the same since. 

Cal Fire

UPDATE: MONDAY, AUG. 13, 11:30 a.m. --  The Hirz fire near Shasta Lake is proving to be the more troublesome of the two new fires that started in Shasta County late last week, as crews work to get their arms around the fire's spread.

China Places Tariffs On Recyclables, Dealing Another Blow To Oregon

Aug 9, 2018
Jes Burns / EarthFix

In another blow to Oregon’s beleaguered recycling sector, China announced new tariffs on imported scrap materials Wednesday, Aug. 8, in retaliation for tariffs on China imposed by President Donald Trump.

JPR and the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University present Flamenco Pacifico Sunday night, October 14th at the SOU Music Recital Hall in Ashland at 7:30pm.  

Take an unforgettable journey into the fascinating world of flamenco! Featuring flamenco guitarist and composer, Berto Boyd, guitarist Grant Ruiz and percussionist Terry Longshore with dance performances by Elena Villa and Melissa Cruz, Flamenco Pacifico is a dynamic, professional performance group dedicated to bringing the art of flamenco music and dance to audiences in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. 

Rico Shen/Wikimedia

We once called people "tinkers" if they spent time putting things together from parts, or fixed up worn-out gadgets with improvised fixes. 

But the expression of the moment is "maker," and Ashland will be the site of the Rogue Valley Mini Maker Faire in late September.  The call for makers, crafters, speakers, and sure, tinkers is on. 

Maker Faire organizers want to get the list locked up by August 17th.

Tayo Aluko can't get enough of Paul Robeson.  The singer/actor/activist sang "Old Man River" like nobody else, and left his stamp on American politics as well. 

Tayo Aluko gets to slip into the skin of the great performer in the one-man play "Call Mr. Robeson," which Aluko brings back to Ashland August 12-15. 

Jessica Paterson / Flickr

Businesses that rely on the “gig economy” have been urging state lawmakers to overturn a California Supreme Court ruling that limits them from classifying workers as independent contractors. But legislative leaders declared that effort dead on Wednesday.

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Aug 9, 2018

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Oregon DEQ

Air quality readings reached the Hazardous level from wildfire smoke in both Ashland and Medford on Wednesday evening.  By Thursday morning, levels had dropped a bit, leaving both communities with air quality rated as Very Unhealthy. 

Geoffrey Riley/JPR News

"Bad" and "awful" are common descriptors for the recent air quality in much of the region. 

Wildfire smoke has pushed the quality into official ranges from Moderate at best to Hazardous at worst. 

We've established in previous interviews that breathing the smoky air is  not quite like smoking cigarettes, but it does have its potential hazards. 

Jackson County Health and Human Services keeps the county up on smoke issues. 

Shasta County Sheriff's Office

The view from Redding on that Thursday night was terrifying. 

A thick curtain of smoke got between the city and the setting sun, and flames seemed to leap from ground to sky.  Scientists have confirmed that there really was a "firenado" as the Carr Fire brought its destruction into town. 

Daniel Swain at the Center for Climate Science at UCLA has been looking at the data.  Ryan Sandler at the National Weather Service in Medford knows how things usually work in the atmosphere.

Wildfire Pricetag In Southern Oregon: $135 Million

Aug 8, 2018
File photo Mail Tribune

Fires that continue to rage in Southern Oregon this summer have so far racked up a more than $135 million bill, about three-quarters of the dollars spent to battle fires throughout Oregon this season.

U.S. Forest Service

The Josephine County Sheriff's Office lifted a shutdown of boat traffic on the Rogue River Tuesday evening, reopening a stretch of river closed by wildfire.


Smart meters are being installed in place of the old analog "wheel" meters in the region by Pacific Power.  But not without a fight, in some cases. 

There's a particularly sharp reaction to the meters and their wireless communication features, plus concerns about possible incendiary properties. 

We sought out a medical expert who knows something about Wi-Fi and whether it has carcinogenic properties.  Dr. Steven Seung is a radiation oncologist with Providence Cancer Institute in Portland. 

wikipedia commons

People growing marijuana illegally in the forest don't care much who owns the forest. 

So while you hear plenty about illegal grows on federal Forest Service land, there have been many on tribal land in Northern California, too.  Have been, past tense, says the Yurok tribe. 

The tribe recently paused Operation Yurok, which focused on removing all large-scale pot grows on Yurok land. 

Maybe you're pining for fall already, and a break from heat and smoke. 

But we've got long, warm days and maybe even a little time off from work.  That's the reason summer is so conducive to a little extra reading.  Or a lot, if we're lucky. 

Our Summer Reads segment is back for a second summer, visiting with local and locally-owned bookstores to get ideas for good summertime reads. 

Oregon Books and Games and The Rogue Reader, twin stores in Grants Pass, are the latest independent book stores to check in with some items for your reading consideration.