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Sheriff's report details crash that sparked Dry Gulch fire

At 3:10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12, the Baker County Sheriff’s Office responded to the area of 44675 Eagle Creek Road regarding a report of a vehicle crash that resulted in a fire.

Deputy Craig Rilee determined that Dennis Nash had been driving the vehicle prior to the crash. Nash had been traveling to meet the rest of his hunting party who were camped in the area. Nash was unable to negotiate a curve in the road, struck an embankment and ended up rolling his 2012 Ford F-350 pickup. Nash was not hurt.

School Board honors summer reading volunteers

Volunteers whose summertime reading efforts have helped Baker School District students improve their skills were honored by the Baker School Board Tuesday night.

The Baker County Literacy Coalition received the district’s Community Partner Award. Jim Tomlinson and RaeAnn Butler are co-chairs of the organization’s 10-member board, which also was represented by Aletha Bonebrake and Dave Coughlin at Tuesday’s meeting.

Rates to drop for Cascade Natural Gas customers

Cascade Natural Gas customers, including those in Baker City, will pay less for the fuel starting Nov. 1.

The company has filed a request with the Oregon Public Utility Commission to reduce its rates by about 7.1 percent.

Major change to Cycle Oregon: Riders will return Thursday night, and again Saturday

Cycle Oregon has changed the route plans due to the Dry Gulch fire near Halfway, and the bicyclists will not go to Wallowa Lake State Park as originally planned.

Instead, the bicyclists will return to Huntington/Farewell Bend Wednesday night, then arrive back in Baker City Thursday to again camp at the Sports Complex.

On Friday, the group goes to La Grande to spend the night there, then returns to Baker City Saturday for the finish.

Fire prompts Cycle Oregon to change route; riders won't stay in Halfway tonight

The Dry Gulch fire near Halfway has prompted Cycle Oregon officials to change the route, and the 2,200 cyclists will not spend Tuesday night in Halfway and then continue to Joseph as planned. 

Weather gives firefighters a break

After fanning the Dry Gulch fire with erratic and strong wind gusts, extremely low humidities and temperatures in the 70s and 80s on Sunday, the weather is giving firefighters a respite today as they try to stop the 13,598-acre fire in eastern Baker County.

At 3 p.m. light rain was falling in Halfway, said Jamie Knight of the Oregon Department of Forestry, who is working at the fire camp at the Fairgrounds in Halfway.

Rain also was falling at the Baker City Airport, where the temperature was 30 degrees cooler than at the same time Sunday — 55 degrees compared with 85.

A new police partnership

There’s a new canine-handling cop in town.

And by the end of October there will be a new drug-detecting dog for him to handle.

Officer Coleton Smith has been selected as the new drug dog handler for the Baker City Police.

Smith will attend a two-week handler’s course at Southern Coast K9 in Florida in mid-October.

Dry Gulch Fire: Crews hope for better weather today as they try to stop 12,000-acre fire

Smoke from the Dry Gulch fire billows above Lance and Jacki Adams' vineyard near New Bridge on Sunday (Jacki Adams photo)

Map shows approximate perimeter of the Dry Gulch fire. Halfway is in the upper right, New Bridge in the lower left. Dots show houses.
Map shows approximate perimeter of the Dry Gulch fire. Halfway is in the upper right, New Bridge in the lower left. Dots show houses.

Baker County Commissioner Mark Bennett said this morning that fire bosses are expecting more favorable weather today compared with Sunday as they strive to prevent the 12,000-acre fire from spreading farther east into the extremely rugged terrain near the Snake River.

Bennett said crews will be focusing on the fire’s eastern edge along the Sag Road, in Posy Valley a few miles south of Halfway. Winds are supposed to be lighter today, and temperatures 10-15 degrees cooler. Rain showers are possible late today and into Tuesday morning.

Richland resident says gusty wind fueling Dry Gulch fire

Smoke from the Dry Gulch fire near Richland, seen from Brownlee Reservoir (photo by Sandee Britton)


Lance Adams said it appeared Saturday night that fire crews had made good progress in stopping the Dry Gulch fire, which started earlier in the day when a vehicle rolled on the Eagle Creek Road north of New Bridge and caught fire.

But on Sunday morning the wind started blowing.

Wildfire, started by vehicle crash, threatens homes in eastern Baker County

A wildfire that started Saturday afternoon when a vehicle rolled on Eagle Creek Road north of Richland and caught fire has grown to an estimated 3,800 acres Sunday afternoon, is threatening several homes near Halfway and has prompted an evacuation notice.
At 1:24 p.m. Sunday the Baker County Sheriff's Office issued a Level 3 evacuation notice — recommending residents evacuate immediately — for several homes west of Forest Road 77 due to the Dry Gulch fire.

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