Wednesday, November 12, 2014


At dusk on Highway 3, ambulance at left and medical helicopter await victim
Joseph and Enterprise fire departments traveled more than 30 miles north of Enterprise to a traffic accident on Highway 3 late Monday afternoon, Nov. 10.

Responding with Wallowa County sheriff's deputies, Sheriff's Search and Rescue and Oregon State Police troopers, they discovered the body of a deceased Asotin, Wash., woman in an auto 500 feet down the embankment.

An OSP investigation indicated that the northbound car crossed the southbound lane, traveled off the shoulder and rolled into the canyon.

A medical helicopter landed nearby but was not needed.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Firefighters from Joseph, Enterprise, the Oregon Department of Forestry and U.S. Forest Service converged on a large fire that consumed a pair of hay sheds filled with hundreds of bales of hay Tuesday, Oct. 14.

The blaze on Tucker Down Road in rural Joseph was first spotted by ODF personnel returning from an assignment in Imnaha. Before long, the orange glow could be seen for more than a mile and the dark smoke was visible for many miles.

The cause is undetermined but possibly was moist hay that has been known to heat up as it dries and can ignite spontaneously.

Firefighters kept the fire from spreading, but a blaze burning inside hay bales couldn't possibly be extinguished from the exterior, so the blaze was left to burn itself out.

To supply water, water tenders shuttled from Joseph to the fire, dumping water into a portable tank that then was pumped to fire hoses. Additional water was drafted from a nearby irrigation ditch.

Friday, September 19, 2014


After many months free of emergencies in the fire district, Joseph firefighters were dispatched twice Friday, Sept. 19, to the Village at Wallowa Lake.

Shortly before 11 a.m., firefighters responded to the Wallowa Lake Tramway, where someone reported spotting smoke in the forest between Tramway Towers 4 and 5. What appeared from a distance to be white smoke turned out to be a column of water spraying from a broken water main.

Just after 3 p.m., Joseph Fire Department was summoned to secure a landing zone for a medical helicopter at Wallowa Lake Marina after a boating accident.

Joseph's volunteer firefighters do not respond for medical emergencies since they aren't trained to do so, but they perform rescues and sometimes provide backup such as traffic control and, as in this case, landing-zone support. Medical copters require a secure 100-foot-by-100-foot landing space free of obstructions and power lines.

Local medical emergencies are handled by Wallowa County Health Care District's ambulance service. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


The Oregon Department of Forestry, in conjunction with Joseph, Enterprise and Wallowa fire departments and Wallowa Lake Rural Fire Protection District, is restricting all open burning on lands within its protection area in Wallowa County effective July 21.

Previously issued burn permits have been suspended. Recent hot, dry weather has elevated the fire danger throughout the county. 

“We have seen an increase in human-caused fires over the last week and with many firefighters already battling fires in the region we need to reduce the potential of additional starts and let firefighters focus on those ignited by lightning,” said Wallowa County Emergency Services Manager Paul Karvoski. 

Thunderstorms are predicted to pass through Wallowa County over the next few days.

ODF's Northeast Oregon District remains in a Regulated-Use Closure. Reducing human-caused fires within the Northeast Oregon District is the objective of the closure, which includes the following restrictions:

 Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except at designated locations. Designated locations within the Regulated Use Closure area includes but is not limited to the following Oregon State Parks: Emigrant Springs, Ukiah Dale, Catherine Creek, Hilgard Junction, Red Bridge, Wallowa Lake, Minam and Unity Lake. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed.

 Debris burning is prohibited.

 Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water, or at a cleared area free of flammable vegetation.

 Non-Industrial chain saw use is prohibited, between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Chain saw use is permitted at all other hours, if the following firefighting equipment is present with each operating saw: one axe, one shovel, and one 8 ounce or larger fire extinguisher. In addition, a fire watch is required at least one 1 hour following the use of each saw.

 Cutting, grinding and welding of metal is prohibited, between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Cutting, grinding and welding of metal is permitted at all other hours, if conducted in a cleared area and if a water supply is present.