Fremont-Winema National Forest Service News

The Little Yamsay Fire, a low-intensity naturally ignited fire, was discovered on April 20, a holdover from lightning that came through the area on April 13. After careful consideration and consultation with partners, fire managers decided that this fire could follow in the footsteps of last year’s Dillon Creek Fire, a naturally ignited wildfire that, similarly, was used to fulfill fire management objectives. On March 13, the Type 3 Incident Management Team stated that they’d reached over 6,000 acres of fire-treated landscape and were transitioning to a Type 4 Incident Management Team.

Combined with the Dillon Creek Fire, this makes a block of approximately 10,000 acres that will serve as a buffer against future catastrophic wildfires. In addition, this results in a reduced risk of damage from insects and disease, enhanced nutrient content in the soil, and less competitive and invasive vegetation. Merv George, Deputy Regional Forester and member of the Hoopa Tribe, said, “This is the antidote to the wildfire crisis,” when viewing the work accomplished by the Fremont-Winema National Forest and partners.

The 2024 field and recreation season is approaching, and Forest recreation crews are working across team boundaries to prepare. Fallen trees have been removed from campgrounds, new signs have been made, and facilities are being cleaned and made available for public use. Fire, Silviculture, Recreation, and Integrated Resource Crews also sourced burnt juniper logs from the 2020 Brattain Fire to create a new sign base for the Marsters Spring Campground, 20 miles south of Paisley.

Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) operators worked with Jona Molina, West Zone Fish Biologist, and Bill Tinniswood, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, to survey Redband Rainbow Trout in the upper Williamson River near Kirk Springs through the use of UAS, also known as drones. While there were few fish near their redds during the survey, Molina and Tinniswood believe using UAS will be a positive asset in the future. Flying a drone over the river is very low-impact and allows staff to see fish in areas that are traditionally difficult to reach. Additionally, using this technology could allow staff to measure water temperatures, areas where invasive vegetation is encroaching on watersheds, and water quality.

The Fremont-Winema National Forest, Lakeview District of the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and partners are looking forward to the first year of the Oregon Outback International Dark Sky Sanctuary. While the Forest only has a handful of campgrounds identified within the boundaries of the sanctuary – Vee Lake, Can Springs, Mud Creek, and Willow Creek are expected to see most of the stargazing traffic – much of the Forest sees very little light pollution. The best dates for stargazing this year line up with two federal holidays – June 6, July 5(the Fourth of July Weekend), Aug.  4, Sept.  2 (Labor Day), Oct. 2, and Nov. 1. The following dates will be excellent for moon viewing; May 23, June 21, July 21, Aug. 19, Sept.  17, and Oct. 15.

Erik Fey, DM, Forest Supervisor, announced on May 13 that he would be accepting a new temporary assignment as an Assistant to the Regional Forester. Starting June 2, Wade McMaster, currently the Forest Supervisor in the Mendocino National Forest, will be filling in as Acting Forest Supervisor for 120 days.

Benjamin Wilson is the Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Forest Service.

5 Chiloquin Junior High Klamath Tribes Members qualify for the Nike Outdoor National Championship

Chiloquin Junior High School’s track season culminated in a remarkable achievement: Five student-athletes qualified for the prestigious Nike Outdoor National Championship. This notable event will host young athletes from across the nation on June 12th and 13th at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

The qualifiers, all of whom are enrolled members of the Klamath Tribes, will represent both their school and tribe at this high-profile meet. The athletes and their events are as follows:

  1. Xavah Hescock – 200m and Long Jump
  2. Makiren Jackson – Shot Put
  3. Billy Jackson – Shot Put
  4. Denver Bravo – Shot Put and Long Jump
  5. Justin Parrish – Shot Put and 200m

Each student has performed exceptionally well throughout the season, most clinching first place in their respective categories and grade levels. Additionally, Xavah, Makiren, Denver, and Justin have set new records at Chiloquin Junior High in their events.

The Nike Outdoor National Championship is a critical platform for middle school athletes. It features all track and field events and draws competitors across the United States. Chiloquin’s athletes’ participation not only highlights their athletic prowess but also showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Klamath Tribes.

As these young athletes prepare for the national stage, their community stands behind them, proud of their achievements and eager to support them in their upcoming challenge at Hayward Field.

The Klamath Tribes Announces New Chairman William E. Ray, Jr.

The Klamath Tribes announced William E. Ray, Jr. as presiding Chair for the Klamath Tribes following the resignation of former Chairman Clayton Dumont, Jr., May 13.

The Klamath Tribes’ Tribal Council officially welcomed William E. Ray, Jr. as Chairman for the Klamath Tribes on May 22 during a swearing-in ceremony before a full auditorium of attendees.

Chairman Ray Jr., in a solemn and emotional address to the audience, underscored his unwavering commitment to the Klamath Tribes. He expressed the weight of his new role, emphasizing the significant responsibilities that lie ahead.

“I know what we have at stake as a nation,” he said. “And I believe that, and you’ve heard me say this before, some of you, that we are a first nation; we were here first. Not all the things that they say, don’t believe them about the history, we know our history. And we need to keep it alive. The way we do that is through our culture and the way that we’re going to keep it alive in the Western world. They have us here for 18,000 years now.

“Well, we’re going to be around a lot longer. But we have to have our land healed. So, we can carry on our culture. Without that, native people can’t live – without that. And we have a serious thing that is going to possibly happen to us when one of our things that we rely on heavily, might be going away. One of our fish. And it at all affects us. We have to rethink smartly and strategically from here on out. So, we don’t lose anything else. We can’t afford it. As Mr. Jackson pointed out, we have to save what we have left. And get back what we need to get back, which is our land. We’ve got to have our land base back and then increase it so it can sustain us. So I’m here to serve the people.”

Chairman Ray Jr. will lead the Klamath Tribes until the February 2025 election, when he is expected to seek re-election. He stressed in his comments that his tenure will be marked by a strategic approach to preserving the Tribes’ culture while addressing the challenges that lie ahead.

Chiloquin Gymnasium Construction Breaks Ground

Construction began last month on the new Chiloquin Junior/Senior High School gym. Klamath County School Superintendent Glen Szymoniak told Klamath Tribes News that “The estimated overall cost of the Chiloquin gym is approximately $7 million. There were some unexpected delays and costs associated with archeological issues. The construction phase is expected to last approximately one year, so it should be done by the summer of 2025.” Soderstrom Architects designed the gym, and Diversified Contractors Inc. is building it. The Klamath Tribes Culture and Heritage Center has worked with the school district and construction crews, monitoring the site for any archeological findings and proper procedures under Revised Statute (ORS) 390.235, the main compliance law the school district must follow since funding for the project is from the state.  (Ken Smith/Klamath Tribes News)

Q&A with Klamath County District Attorney David Schutt

Klamath County District Attorney David Schutt was appointed by the Governor on Dec. 21, 2023, and officially began his job on Feb. 3. On May 5, he attended the National Day of Awareness of Murdered and Missing Indigenous People, an annual event held by the Klamath Tribes at the fitness center in Chiloquin. He was a guest speaker at the event and graciously took time for an impromptu Q&A with the Klamath Tribes.

What are the challenges for your office to address the concerns with issues of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Persons?

Right now, really, it’s resources and just a lack of a connection. Resources and the fact that we used to have resident deputies out here, but now we’ve got the tribal resource, and the tribal public safety office is going to be opening up. But I just think that it’s hard to develop trust, considering that the system has let them down so frequently and so often. It’s just a matter of making a connection and keep showing up, keep coming in and keep the lines of communication open, and keep working with people to make sure that their needs are addressed, and the cases are dealt with.

Do you have any experience in the past with tribal missing persons and murders?

This is my third time being back in the DA’s office in Klamath, so I had some dealings with some of the cases here. And I’ve had some in my first times here, but that was it.

How many years have you worked as a DA?

I started in 1996 at the DA’s office in Klamath until 2000. And then from 2000 to 2012, I was the DA in Lake County. And then, I was here from 2017 to 2020. And then I was in Lake County as a Defense Attorney. And now I’m back. 

So, this is your first time being in a tribal territory?

As the District Attorney, but I mean, I’ve worked in Klamath before. I remember the very first time when I worked under Ed Caleb, and they had somebody from the tribe come and talk on relating to the tribe and everything. I was really excited, and I remember I was just making eye contact with the individual because I was really interested in what he had to say. And halfway through, he’s talking about cultural norms. He’s like, it’s considered rude, staring into somebody’s eyes and make eye contact. I’ve always wanted to make the connection. And I think it’s just a matter of putting in the time and being open to listening to people.

What are some of the things that you think you need to work on to develop the trust that you say is probably lacking at this point?

I just want to have a meeting with them and find out what exactly it is that they want. Find out what are some concrete goals and some concrete things that I can do and our office can do to meet some of their needs. And then just to do those. I think people have talked to the people in Chiloquin way too much. I mean, it’s the actions and follow-through that are going to develop trust.

Have you got any open case files of tribal members that you’re aware of?

Yes.

How many?

I’m aware of five or six, but I’m sure we have a lot more. I mean, the ones that I’m dealing with mostly are the felonies.

How do you close those? How do you pursue them?

It’s just like any other case. I mean, the difficulties are, you know, just getting law enforcement to do some follow-up. But it’s just like anything else. I mean, you figure out what it is you have, what crimes do you think occurred and then getting the information needed to prosecute him?

What are your feelings about some of these cases being brought to justice? Do you think you have a good chance?

Every case is individual. If you want, I can get you a list of some cases, and we can talk about it if they’re not ongoing investigations. But every case is unique.

I know they have a system set up in the state to work with tribes. A new system for investigation and follow-up? Have you been in touch with them?

No, not since I’ve been here. I’ve talked to the governor’s office, and we’re working through their tribal liaison, but I haven’t had any concrete contact with that yet.

Are you staying for the long-term here as DA?

Yes, this is where I want to retire. This is where I want to end my career.

That gives you a little more time to develop relationships with the Tribes.

I hope so. That’s my goal. I talked to the Chairman of the Council, and I would like to set up, after we have the first meeting, set up a continuing meeting, whether it’s quarterly, monthly, bi-monthly. I want to continue the lines of communication so that if there’s an issue when an issue develops, we can deal with it as soon as it comes up.

Klamath Tribes’ new judiciary building getting primed for opening

The renovation of The Klamath Tribes’ courthouse, located at 35601 South Chiloquin Road in Chiloquin, Oregon, is expected to be complete by May. Danita Herrera, the Tribe’s judicial Director, invited Klamath Tribes News for an impromptu sneak peek of the building as completion nears.

Renovation was originally slated to begin in July 2023, although it did not begin in earnest until October. Klamath Tribes Planning Director Jared Hall cited a lack of available construction crews from various contractors as an obstacle in initially securing the building’s renovation.

“The general contractor had several projects they were in the middle of and closing out,” said Hall. “So, we had limited crews over there doing stuff, but they’re starting to get more bodies over there, and they can make some more progress.”

Herrera guided this reporter through the corridors of the building, first directing our attention to the multiple attorney-client meeting rooms located immediately outside the courtroom. Before entering the courtroom, attorneys and clients will meet privately. In some instances, a DNA test may be conducted in one of the rooms to confirm or deny paternity between an alleged father and child.

Despite the renovation being not yet complete, the layout of the courtroom became apparent upon entering. The jury box and public benches are located to the left of the entrance. In front of the jury box will be the defendant and plaintiffs’ tables. Across from the tables will be a witness stand situated to the right of the judge’s bench and a booth for each clerk and bailiff – a standard courtroom layout.

“When you walk in here, you’re not walking into Klamath County Courthouse; you’re walking into a Klamath Tribes court building,” said Herrera, expressing her desire to have a sign, like a coat of arms, representative of the Tribes outside the building. “So, let’s try to have something that shows that. We would like to have something that has a design, maybe a basket design, as part of our culture here that actually expresses, ‘This is who we are as a people, The Klamath Tribes,’ not just like Klamath County Courthouse – you walk into it, there’s no culture, there’s just a judicial building.”

Herrera said The Klamath Tribes judiciary logo will be displayed above the judge’s bench.

Walking out the opposite door of the courtroom and into the corridor, there is a series of rooms, one of which will be designated the judge’s office. Other rooms will be designated for the bailiff, a probation officer, and victim services offices. Herrera added that The Tribes currently have a juvenile probation officer, whom they hope to transfer to the Public Safety Department, hired full-time.

“We’re going to contract with a public defender,” said Herrera, touching on hiring plans and obtaining special jurisdictions – the powers of a court to adjudicate cases and issue orders. So that’s in our next grant. And that’s the special jurisdiction. And that is when a non-tribal person commits a crime against a tribal person. So, let’s say a domestic violence case, then we have a grant specifically for that; it’s a special jurisdiction grant. Those jurisdictions are opening up.”

Work is ongoing to complete the new Klamath Tribes judiciary building. (Ken Smith/Klamath Tribes News)

Herrera elaborated further on the special jurisdictions The Klamath Tribes seek to secure, citing an example where a non-tribal individual works for the Tribes. “Let’s say you owe child support,” she said, “your employer [in this hypothetical case, The Klamath Tribes] gets contacted to garnish your wages for child support that you owe, but you’re non-native, so then the Tribal Child Support program would say, ‘Hold on, we’re going to register that case.’ So, we would register your case in our tribal court, and we would do the garnishment.”

Herrera said that currently the nearest local court to order wage garnishments is located in Medford.

Klamath Tribes Victim Services is seeking to hire a Healing Winds Advocate, under the purview of the Healing Winds Program Manager, to “respond to emotional, psychological, and/or physical needs of crime victims through utilizing training, coordinating services amongst several entities, facilitating warm hand-offs to other agencies, interagency case management, and assisting victims with accessing from other agencies/programs, per The Klamath Tribes’ position description. An advocate will maintain regular contact with the victim via phone, virtual, and face-to-face meetings. The last of which will be conducted in one of the victim services offices. This is not an exhaustive list of responsibilities.

Trauma survivors often have difficulty comprehending complex court proceedings. Herrera pointed out that, considering these circumstances, an advocate will attend court hearings with the victim to help him or her better understand the proceedings, oftentimes taking notes.

Continuing through the labyrinthine corridors of the building, the scope and scale of the building unfold. A kitchen is being furnished with the necessary appliances, something less abstract than the everyday inner workings of the law.

As we stepped outside, Herrera reflected on the journey the Tribes have taken to get to this point, on the cusp of the courthouse’s opening. “I think the building is a perfect size for the court services and child support,” she said while acknowledging the multi-year process from initial funding under the American Rescue Plan Act to now. “So, I’m really excited about the renovation and being able to see our members here and provide services to them.”

Indigenous Pre-College Academy

The University of Oregon is pleased to offer the Indigenous Pre-College Academy (IPCA). This summer academy aims to create a cohort of college-bound Indigenous students. Over the course of this six-day program, the students will be acquainted with the UO’s campus, facilities, students, and staff. We hope to foster an early sense of comfortability on college campuses that will make the transition into higher education that much easier for our students. Students will stay in a residence hall and experience living and learning on a college campus.

The academy’s classes and workshops will cover college prep, the admissions process, financial aid, navigating predominantly white institutions as a native scholar, professional development, health and wellness, cultural knowledge, and various academic areas. The ultimate goal for this academy is to help prepare our native students for college, offer them a chance to meet other youth from around the state and beyond and build their academic confidence. Native students belong in spaces of higher education, and this program will offer them a chance to start claiming space NOW.

Where: University of Oregon, Eugene, OR

When: Sunday, July 28–Friday, August 2, 2024

Eligibility: IPCA is open to all high school students who will be in grades 9-12 in the coming school year. Priority will be given to rising juniors and seniors who are enrolled citizens from the nine federally recognized tribes of Oregon or from the other 34 recognized tribes in our statewide compact. We also accept applications from students who self-identify as part of an indigenous community, including Native Hawaiian students, Alaska Native students, or any of the other federally or state-recognized tribes and bands across the US.

Price: IPCA is a free program. Housing and meals are provided. Students will need to arrange their own travel to and from Eugene.

Application Process: Applications for IPCA are now open. The deadline to apply is June 7, 2024. Please note that this application requires several essay responses and gives applicants an opportunity to attach additional documents. The application does not allow applicants to save their answers and come back to them later. Please allow enough time to finish the application before starting. Applicants may preview the essay prompts and required additional documents by clicking the apply button below. To ensure the application process goes smoothly, it is recommended that students preview the application requirements and essay prompts first and then have essays pre-written and additional documents ready to upload before filling out the application. IPCA Application.

Becoming an IPCA Counselor: We will seek current college students to act as counselors for the program. 

Contact Info: Olivia Iverson, coordinator for Native/Indigenous Recruitment, 541-346-1219, [email protected].

2024 high school graduates attend Klamath Tribes Honor Dinner & Recognition

The 2024 high school graduates attended the Klamath Tribes Honor Dinner & Recognition on May 23 at the Ninth Street Venue. This is the ninth year the dinner has been held to celebrate tribal students who graduated from high schools in the Klamath County School District. Fifty-two Title VI students graduated from high schools this year, and 21 students attended the event. The Klamath Tribes News caught up with five students to discuss their future plans.

Honnahlee Hicks from Klamath Learning Center plans to attend Klamath Community College to do her basic studies and then transfer to Southern Oregon University to study teaching history. “The reason I really wanted to do it was because I noticed during history growing up that none of the teachers really knew a lot about Native American history,” she said. “And so, I really thought it was important that people know more about Native American history.” She said that although Southern Oregon is her college of choice right now, she is also deliberating on attending the University of Oregon.

Frank Loreman is a senior at Chiloquin High School and plans to attend Portland State University after high school graduation, majoring in architecture. “I have a passion for creating things, and I want to leave my mark on the world,” he said. “I chose it because of the tuition-free degree program, but also because they’re one of the only two colleges in Oregon with an architecture program.”

Klamath Union High School senior King Vaughn will pursue an engineering degree, first attending Klamath Community College and then transferring to Oregon State University. “I want to go to KCC first because it’s close by, and I live around here, and it’s kind of the easiest option,” he said. He is pursuing funding from the college to offset tuition costs. He chose OSU as his next college pursuit after visiting the college during a native student trip. “They have like, three engineering programs,” he said. “Two of them I’m interested in, and I think they could really help me with getting that degree.”

Keely Hall of Klamath Union High School is a valedictorian. She is still undecided about her major but intends to go to the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls. She has two majors in mind, either engineering or accounting. Oregon Tech is her choice in order to stay close to home, and she also received financial assistance from the college. “I got two academic scholarships from Oregon Tech,” she said. “One is for a five-grand scholarship each year and then one thousand for the first year.”

Shayla Ochoa is a senior at Chiloquin High School and will be attending Klamath Community College to pursue an Associate Degree in nursing; then plans to go to Portland State University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing and science. “I just wanted to be a registered nurse because, with that degree, you can go into many different parts of the medical field,” she said. “You can go into labor and delivery, or you could be a bedside nurse; the list goes on, really.”

Ochoa said she plans to work outside of Klamath County to gain experience once she graduates but plans to return to her hometown to settle down and work. She was an active member of the Klamath Tribes Youth Council since she was six years old, she said and leaves one bit of advice for her fellow students entering high school. “Definitely watch your GPA because it could determine your path in life.”

Health and Wellness – Back Talk

As a chiropractic physician specializing in back injuries, I understand the debilitating effects that such injuries can have on daily life. Whether it’s a sudden twinge while lifting heavy objects or a gradual onset of discomfort from poor posture, back injuries are all too common—and they demand proper care and attention to facilitate healing and prevent further damage.

When you experience a back injury, the first step is to seek chiropractic care. A chiropractor can assess the extent of the injury, identify any misalignments or imbalances in the spine, and provide gentle spinal adjustments to alleviate pain and restore proper function. These adjustments help reduce inflammation, relieve pressure on nerves, and promote healing in the affected area.

In conjunction with chiropractic care, massage therapy can be highly beneficial for relieving muscle tension and promoting relaxation in the affected area. A skilled massage therapist can target specific muscles that may be tight or strained, helping to improve circulation and facilitate the healing process.

Home Stretches:

In addition to professional care, incorporating targeted stretches into your daily routine can help alleviate pain and prevent future injuries. Here are some effective stretches for the lower back:

1. Child’s Pose: Kneel on the floor, then sit back on your heels and stretch your arms forward, lowering your chest toward the ground. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute, breathing deeply into the stretch.

2. Cat-Cow Stretch: Start on your hands and knees, then arch your back up like a cat while exhaling, and then drop your belly towards the floor while inhaling, lifting your head and tailbone. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.

3. Piriformis Stretch: Lie on your back with both knees bent. Cross one ankle over the opposite knee, then gently pull the bottom knee towards your chest until you feel a stretch in the buttocks. Hold for 30 seconds on each side.

4. **Hamstring Stretch:** Sit on the floor with one leg extended and the other bent, foot flat on the floor. Lean forward from the hips, reaching towards the toes of the extended leg. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.

5. Quadriceps Stretch: Stand tall, then bend one knee, bringing the foot towards the buttocks. Hold the ankle with the corresponding hand, gently pulling the foot towards the glutes. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.

6. Knee to Chest Stretch: Lie on your back with both knees bent. Bring one knee towards your chest, grasping it with both hands. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.

McKenzie Protocol:

The McKenzie protocol, developed by physiotherapist Robin McKenzie, is a series of exercises aimed at relieving back pain and restoring function through specific movements and positions. These exercises include:

1. Extension in lying: Lie on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders. Push up with your arms, lifting your chest off the ground while keeping your pelvis and legs relaxed. Hold for 5-10 seconds, then lower down. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.

2. Prone Press-ups: Lie on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders. Press up with your hands, lifting your upper body off the ground while keeping your pelvis and legs relaxed. Hold for 5-10 seconds, then lower down. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.

3. Flexion in lying: Lie on your back with your knees bent. Gently pull one knee towards your chest, holding it with both hands. Hold for 5-10 seconds, then lower down. Repeat with the other knee. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions on each side.

Strengthening Exercises:

To prevent future back injuries, it’s important to strengthen the muscles that support the spine. Incorporate exercises such as:

1. Bridge Pose: Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips towards the ceiling, keeping your shoulders on the ground. Hold for 10-15 seconds, then lower down. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.

2. Bird Dog: Start on your hands and knees, then extend one arm forward and the opposite leg back, keeping your back flat. Hold for 5-10 seconds, then switch sides. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions on each side.

Hot and Cold Therapy:

Finally, alternating between hot and cold therapy can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. Apply a cold pack to the affected area for 20 minutes, then switch to a hot pack for another 20 minutes. Repeat this process several times a day as needed.

If your back pain persists or worsens despite home care, don’t hesitate to seek further evaluation from a chiropractic physician. At Advanced Chiropractic, we offer comprehensive assessments and personalized treatment plans to help you recover from back injuries and return to living life to the fullest.

Dr. James Yewchuk, D.C., serves the Klamath tribes in Chiropractic Care and is the owner of Advanced Chiropractic Massage & Physical Therapy in Klamath Falls.

Grant funds computer simulation table; Depicts wildfire terrain in 3D for study

Klamath Community College’s (KCC) Public Safety Regional Training Center has taken its wildland firefighting strategy to a whole new level with the addition of a computer simulation table.

Ancient civilizations used ways to replicate terrain to plan battles, determine where to construct buildings or chart routes across treacherous lands. Today, thanks to a generous grant from Green Diamond Resource Company, KCC students have the benefit of a computer-generated model to assist them.

The Public Safety Regional Training Center’s new simtable will revolutionize logistical training for firefighting, and many other disasters and emergencies.

“Consistent with Green Diamond’s commitment to the communities where we work and live, we are proud to support educational opportunities like KCC’s that promote and protect jobs in the forest products industry,” said Robert Douglas, Timber Resource Analyst at Green Diamond’s Oregon operations.

“We greatly appreciate the focus KCC has put on wildfire prevention and suppression with the newly established wildland fire program. We hope our donation will help our communities be more wildfire-resistant and resilient,” he said.

Green Diamond is a sixth-generation, family-owned forest products company that owns and manages working forests in nine states throughout the western and southern U.S.

Preston Hundley, KCC’s Wildland Fire Program Coordinator, and Charles Massie, the college’s Vice President of External Programs, said the Green Diamond grant will help teach tactics for fighting wildfires.

Klamath Community College has a new simtable, an interactive computer-generated view of forested terrain, such as Crater Lake above, that can be used to predict fire behavior and help plan for wildfire-fighting efforts and evacuations. (Photo courtesy of Klamath Community College)

The computer simulator models a flat surface in a 6- by 10-foot box with a transparent topographical map overlay shown from a simtable projector. Any mapped area can be shaped into a 3-D replica of the site to give firefighters a better lay of the land with exacting detail.

“We can recreate Crater Lake and the surrounding mountains,” Hundley said as he worked the simulator to match the topography. This includes the lake, rivers and streams, and timbered acreage to demonstrate where a wildfire may travel, given the weather conditions. Then, we can study a plan of attack.”

Most importantly, these maps can help establish the quickest evacuation routes for residents, given the density of the housing and the amount of traffic.

Hundley added that the modeling also shows the need for homeowners to create a defensible space around their homes so they are less likely to catch fire. “This is one more step in enabling the KCC program to become a regional firefighting training center,” Hundley said. He said that after wildfires, teams can do debriefings on how the fire or other disaster was fought and what they could do better.

“Not only can it aid firefighting efforts, but it can chart natural disasters such as floods, or a toxic chemical spill from a nearby railyard, or downed powerlines. Plumes of smoke are included in the overlay, allowing one to see what areas may be affected,” Hundley said. “As more homes are built in the in the wildland-urban interface, or homes on the edge of the forests and on hillsides that can be in the direct line of fire, the hope is to have the community better understand the need for defensible space, evacuation routes and overall emergency preparedness.”