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About Appeal tribune. (Silverton, Or.) 1999-current | View This Issue
S ERVING THE S ILVERTON A REA S INCE 1880
50 C ENTS
A U NIQUE E DITION OF THE S TATESMAN J OURNAL
V OL . 136, N O . 33
W EDNESDAY , A UGUST 2, 2017
Growing wildfire near Detroit closes
Jefferson Park, Pacific Crest Trail
The Whitewater Fire burning east of
Detroit has continued to grow, reaching
167 acres during the weekend in the
Mount Jefferson Wilderness.
Officials responded by shutting down
access to Jefferson Park, a popular hik-
ing and backpacking destination, and an
11-mile segment of the Pacific Crest
Trail, along with four other pathways
that were already closed.
The closures officially began at 6 a.m.
“We understand it is inconvenient but
our priority is to protect public safety,”
Detroit District Ranger Grady McMa-
han said in a news release.
With the forecast calling for boiling
hot weather, fire officials expect the fire
to grow even larger during the week.
More than 125 firefighters are bat-
tling the blaze including three helicop-
ters and three hand crews working steep
and rugged terrain. A new fire camp has
been established at the Hoodoo Ski Area
as fire teams bring in heavy equipment
to try and contain the blaze.
The fire comes at the worst possible
time. Tens of thousands are expected to
descend on Detroit and the Mount Jeffer-
son area for the total solar eclipse on
Aug. 21. Many had planned to view the
event from Jefferson Park.
McMahan said previously the Forest
Service would do everything in its power
to have the area open by the eclipse.
“I would like to tell people that we’ll
have this trailhead and trails open for the
eclipse, but at this point I can’t tell if that
will be possible,” said Grady McMahan,
district ranger for Willamette National
The cause of the fire is a month-old
lightning strike in the Whitewater Creek
area, officials said. It’s not uncommon
for lightning strikes to smolder in the
forest before sparking a fire much later.
“It’s often a surprise to the public, but
it’s not uncommon for fires to pop up a
week or more after the storm,” said
Chris Donaldson, assistant fire manage-
ment officer with Willamette National
Forest, in a 2015 interview with the
See FIRE, Page 2A
Will eclipse day
be sunny or cloudy?
COURTESY OF THE WILLAMETTE NATIONAL FOREST
The Whitewater fire is burning the Mount
Jefferson Wilderness area.
SPECIAL TO THE APPEAL TRIBUNE
Here’s what recent history tells us about Aug. 21
Here’s the good news: For each of
the last seven years, a person in the
Mid-Valley would have had a great
view of the upcoming total solar
Satellite data show that Aug. 21has
been clear and sunny around 10 a.m.
each morning going back to 2010.
That’s a positive sign for the hun-
dreds of thousands of people expect-
ed to arrive in Oregon specifically for
the two minutes — starting at 10:17
a.m. — when the moon blocks the sun
and darkness covers a 73-mile-wide
path that will stretch across the coun-
Satellite data show that Aug. 21 has
been clear and sunny around 10
a.m. each morning going back to
Unfortunately, said meteorologist
Colby Neuman, the past few years
are a poor predictor of this coming
“We’ve had warmer weather and
fewer clouds the last few summers,
but you really can’t say much about
the future based on that short a time
period,” Neuman said. “The long-
term average will beat it every time.”
And the long-term average — in
terms of whether it’s going to be
cloudy or sunny — is a mixed bag.
STEM is popping up all over Silver-
ton, most recently at Camp Invention
late last month.
Teaching science, technology, engi-
neering and mathematics – STEM – to
kids is a full-flowered academic trend
in many places. It’s budding here too,
with the school district’s first Family
STEM Night in May, a middle school
camp earlier this summer, and now this
camp for elementary kids.
Eighty-one children attended a full
week of Camp Invention July 17-21,
where they took things apart, learned
circuitry, built, brainstormed, market-
ed and invented together.
“The best thing is that kids from all
over the district, from all different
schools, got to work together,” said
high school science teacher Clarissa
Bay, who led the camp. “You get that in
sports, but you don’t often get that in
Bay had hoped 30 kids would sign up
for the camp, created by National In-
ventors Hall of Fame and localized by
herself and teachers Donna Becker,
Paula Cross, Patricia Hooker and The-
ress Stadeli. She was “blown away” by
the high turnout, especially consider-
ing the cost was $200 per child.
Community sponsors and volunteer
helpers, many of them students them-
selves, helped keep costs from going
See STEM, Page 3A
The National Weather Service re-
ports that overall, people in the Salem
area have a 67 percent chance of be-
ing able to view the eclipse this year.
When you take a longer look back
— at the last 20 years — there are a lot
more clouds on Aug. 21.
Between 2001 and 2009, for exam-
ple, five of the nine mornings around
10 a.m. had moderate to significant
cloud coverage, according to satellite
Neuman said clouds in the Salem
area would be fueled by marine
weather patterns that typically come
from northwest, southwest and
See ECLIPSE, Page 2A
MADDY TRAVER / SPECIAL TO THE APPEAL TRIBUNE
Cole Ulven at Camp Invention.
Willamette Valley faces heat watch
LAUREN E HERNANDEZ
The National Weather Service
has issued an excessive heat watch
days before record-breaking tri-
ple-digit temperatures are expect-
ed to descend on the Willamette
Salem area will likely reach rec-
ord 106-degree temperatures for
Wednesday and Thursday, accord-
ing to National Weather Service
meteorologist Matthew Cullen.
“It’s certainly not unprecedent-
ed, but it’s worth noting that we’ll
be seeing these triple-digit temper-
atures for at least two days in a
row,” Cullen said.
The last time Salem reached 106
degree temperatures was in late
July 2009. Cullen said Salem re-
corded a record high of 108 de-
grees on August 9, 1981.
He said the temperatures are a
result of a low-pressure weather
system developing over the valley.
A thermal trough, or a heat low,
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will sit above the region and cause
excessively hot and dry condi-
“The days we have triple digits
tend to happen in mid-July to mid-
August, but this isn’t an every year
type of heat,” Cullen said.
The heat watch will be in effect
through 11 p.m. Friday.The watch
covers the Willamette Valley,
Coast Range, Cascade Foothills,
Cascades, Columbia River Gorge
See HEAT, Page 2A
Life in the Valley.................4A
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