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‘One Big Blur’

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Joshua Dillen / Baker City Herald Scorched trees and the remants of outbuildings line a road in Stices Gulch south of Baker City.

Stices Gulch Resident Recalls Evacuation Day

As the Cornet fire advanced toward her Stices Gulch home on Aug. 12, Julie Jayo had no sense of how fast she was moving.

“I lost all track of time,” Jayo said Monday. “It was one big blur.”

During that blur, her family packed pictures, family heirlooms and important documents from their home of five years into their trailer and moved to a trailer park in Baker City.


Another record sale

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S. John Collins / Baker City Herald The hog barn at the Baker County Fair bustled with preparations for the market auction Aug. 8. Tyler Youngblood, right, was participating in his first fair as a member of the Lone Pine Heirs. Older brother Riley, at left, went ahead of Tyler.

Baker County Fair 4H/FFA Livestock Auction

By Chris Collins

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This year’s 4-H and FFA Livestock Auction again saw record sales.

The $270,105 sale total shattered last year’s record of $228,107.


Baker hay helps John Day

By Jayson Jacoby and La’akea Kaufman

Baker City Herald

Even as the biggest wildfire in Baker County history still smolders, local ranchers are donating dozens of tons of hay to their counterparts in Grant County.

And local volunteers say they’re ready to help Baker County cattle operations as well.


Baker student studies in Ghana

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La'akea Kaufman / Baker City Herald Madison Hatfield dons a Ghanaian dress shirt outside of her home in Baker City.

By La’akea Kaufman

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The first thing Madison Hatfield did when she got home to Baker City after being in Ghana for six months was ride her bicycle. 

“My mom was asking me, ‘Aren’t you tired?’ and I said, ‘No, I’ve been away from home for so long, I’ve gotta explore around!’” Hatfield said.

Hatfield was participating in a program through the American Field Service, a nonprofit organization that offers international exchange programs for high school students. 


Eagle Complex growth slows significantly

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USFS photo Firefighters set back fires in an attempt to stop the spread of oncoming blazes in the Eagle Complex fire.

By Dick Mason

Wescom News Service

Smoke aided firefighters Sunday in their battle against the Eagle Complex fires, burning 10 miles east of Medical Springs.

Smoke from the fires did not lift as much as expected Sunday, preventing the Eagle Complex blazes from growing significantly.


Crews gain control on Cornet-Windy Ridge, Eldorado fires

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Baker County Consolidated Dispatch Photo The Cornet-Windy Ridge Complex Fire, shown Aug 14, has calmed down allowing crews to gain the upper hand.

By La’akea Kaufman

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The Cornet-Windy Ridge and Eldorado blazes remain under firefighter’s control, while the Eagle Complex Fire continues to burn 20 miles northwest of Richland.

As of this morning, the Eagle Complex fire has burned 8,129 acres and is 5 percent contained.


Portland entrepreneur wants to bring marijuana business to Baker

By Joshua Dillen

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A Portland marijuana entrepreneur with local roots aims to change local ideas and perceptions about marijuana business. 

In spite of a local ban of all marijuana-related businesses by both the Baker County and City governments, 36 year-old Blue Ontiveros hopes to start a marijuana grow operation and a dispensary in Baker City.

Ontiveros is working with a team of investors  and his business partner, Matthew Chambers, to open marijuana businesses in Baker City. He has been consulting with lawyers, local community members and local public officials with plans to contact more to explore ways to ease the marijuana industry into Baker City.


Oregon inmates battle blazes

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Inmates on the fire crew battling both the Cornet-Windy Ridge Complex and Eldorado fires take their lunch break and deal a hand of pinochle. One hundred inmates are camping out at Unity Lake Campground. (La'akea Kaufman/Baker City Herald)

By La’akea Kaufman

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Oregon inmates from five minimum-security prisons have gone from behind bars to the front lines of the flames in Northeastern Oregon.

 The Unity Lake Campground is serving as a makeshift settlement with large blue 20-man tents for the inmates. Smaller family-sized tents house the correctional officers. Portable shower units the size of shipping containers sit in the parking lot along with trailers holding clothing and camping, kitchen and food supplies.

About a dozen officers and 100 inmates from Santiam, Powder River, South Fork Forest Camp, Warner Creek and Snake River Correctional Facilities are stationed at this fire camp fighting the Cornet-Windy Ridge and Eldorado fires. 


Chopper goes down


By La’akea Kaufman

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Two pilots walked away with only minor injuries after one engine failed on the twin-engine Sikorsky S-61A helicopter they were flying over the Eldorado fire Wednesday night.

Gary Wiltrout, 67, of Boise, said he and his co-pilot Scott Talada, 65, of Baker City, had been flying for about six hours on Wednesday dumping water on the Eldorado fire when the engine failure occurred about 7:15 p.m. 


Helicopter pilots walk away from 'hard landing'


Two pilots walked away from a hard landing in a Sikorsky S-61A helicopter working on the Eldorado fire Wednesday night.

The helicopter lost power about 7:15 p.m. on the western edge of the fire in the King Creek area about eight miles southeast of Unity, said Tom Fields, public information office on the Eldorado Fire for the Oregon Department of Forestry Incident Command Team.

Fields said the pilot was able to maneuver the helicopter to a hard landing. He and his co-pilot exited the aircraft with minor injuries.

The cause of the incident is being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation and Safety Board, Fields said.

See more in Friday’s Baker City Herald.


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