National coverage


Grants Pass, Oregon

Numerous wildfires burned in Oregon’s valleys and along the coast, destroying hundreds of homes and causing mass evacuations, the Associated Press reported.

Farther north, flames devoured buildings and huge tracts of land in the State of Washington. Officials said the number of simultaneous fires and perhaps the damage caused was unprecedented. Several deaths were reported, including a 1-year-old boy in Washington. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said the communities have been “substantially destroyed” and warned there could be numerous fatalities according to AP.

Brown said Oregon could see the greatest loss of life and property from wildfires in state history. The small towns of Phoenix and Talent in Southern Oregon were damaged heavily. Another fire leveled most of the small farming town of Malden in Eastern Washington — burning down the fire station, post office, city hall and library, AP reported.

In Western Oregon, fire tore through Santiam Canyon and the Cascade Range foothills east of Salem, the state capital. People with animals sought shelter from the Red Cross at the fairgrounds, according to AP.

Knoxville, Tennessee

Authorities were searching Thursday morning for a tiger in East Tennessee, the Associated Press reported.

A deputy spotted the animal Wednesday night at an industrial park, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. Several agencies including animal control, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and representatives with the rescue organization Tiger Haven are helping with the search, according to AP.

There were unconfirmed tiger sightings reported overnight in the eastern part of the county, and the search was continuing Thursday morning. Knoxville Zoo spokesperson Tina Rolen said all of its tigers are accounted for, and the zoo has not been involved in the search, AP reported.

A trap has been set and if the animal is caught, it will be taken to Tiger Haven, the wildlife agency said in a statement. It was not clear where the tiger might have come from, according to AP.


A federal report released Wednesday shows vaping by United States teenagers fell dramatically this year, especially among middle schoolers, the Associated Press reported.

Experts think last year’s outbreak of vaping related illnesses and deaths may have scared off some kids, but they believe other factors contributed to the drop, including higher age limits and flavor bans, according to AP.

In a national survey, just less than 20 percent of high school students and 5 percent of middle school students said they were recent users of electronic cigarettes and other vaping products. Tha marks a big decline from a similar survey last year which found about 28 percent of high school students and 11 percent of middle school students recently vaped, AP reported.

But even as teen use declined, the repor shows a big bump in use of disposable e-cigarettes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this year barred flavors from small vaping devices like Juul and other which mainly are used by minors. The policy did not apply to disposable e-cigarettes, which still can contain sweet, candy-like flavors, according to AP.

Carson City, Nevada

Six states in the Western United States which rely on the Colorado River to sustain cities and farms rebuked a plan to build an underground pipeline which would transport billions of gallons of water through the desert to Southwest Utah, the Associated Press reported.

In a joint letter Tuesday, water officials from Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming urged the U.S. government to halt the approval process for the project, which would bring water 140 miles from Lake Powell in Northern Arizona to the growing area surrounding St. George, Utah, according to AP.

If the approval moves forward, state water leaders said “multiyear litigation” likely would be inevitable and could complicate negotiations regarding the future of the Colorado River, which serves 40 million people but faces threats from persistent drought and climate change which are dwindling the supply o water, AP reported.

The Lake Powell Pipeline project would divert 86,000 acre-feet of water to Washington County, Utah. The state is entitled to the water through agreements between the states which date back a century, but the project’s critics worry the pipeline could further deplete Lake Powell — one of the two man-made reservoirs where Colorado River Water is stored, according to AP.

Jackson, Mississippi

A drone carrying marijuana, cigarette lighters and cellphones got caught in a net above a Mississippi prison fence, resulting in the arrest of two men, the Associated Press reported.

John Travis Ross and Joshua Ray Corban made initial court appearances Tuesday in Rankin County on charges of conspiracy and attempting to smuggle contraband into the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl. The two were identified after Rankin County sheriff’s investigators turned up security video of them launching the drone, according to AP.

The drone, caught August 26, carried 2 ounces of marijuana buds, a cellphone, phone charges, headphones and several cigarette lighters. The drone is the third intercepted at a state prison in recent years, AP reported.

“They tried to use the drone to help their friends — now it’s going to help us,” Corrections Commissioner Burl Cain said, adding the official plan is to reprogram the drone to use at the state’s maximum-security prison. “We’re reprogramming their drone now, so it’s working for the law instead of against it.”