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KUNR Today: Fire and Drought Ravage The West, Renown Announces More Than 160 Layoffs

An image of the exterior of Renown Health’s emergency services
Lucia Starbuck
KUNR Public Radio

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Monday, July 12, 2021.

Latest On Local Wildfires
By KUNR Staff

The Beckwourth Complex Fire has swelled to nearly 90,000 acres, with 23% containment as of this morning. The blaze, comprised of two separate lightning-caused fires, forced multiple evacuations over the weekend in Washoe, Lassen and Plumas counties.

The Doyle Fire Protection District reports that multiple homes have been lost in Doyle due to the fire. A spokesman for the incident command said there has been structure loss.

Attempts to assess damage are underway, but dangerous conditions have slowed those efforts.

Officials are urging residents to regularly check their local sheriff office's Facebook pages for the latest and most up-to-date information on evacuations.

Elsewhere, the Garson Fire burned an estimated 150 acres near Boomtown in Verdi, before crews were able to stop forward progress Sunday. That fire has been deemed human-caused. Air and ground resources remain on scene.

Check the latest updates on the Beckwourth Fire.

Wildfires Sparking Across The West As Drought Persists
By Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

The most recent U.S. drought monitor released Thursday is foreboding. For example, it showed that Montana only received about 25% of its normal precipitation in June.

One national forest there recently had more than 800 lightning strikes in a single day.

Prediction models from the National Interagency Fire Center show that forests and grasslands are losing moisture fast as heat waves continue to grip the region. Some areas in northwest Nevada and southern Idaho are breaking records for how quickly they are drying out.

Renown Health Terminates More Than 160 Employees
By Paul Boger

Renown Health announced the termination of 166 employees late last week. The organization also announced in a statement that it would not fill dozens of additional vacancies.

Northern Nevada's largest healthcare provider says the layoffs were the result of a comprehensive review of the company's 7,200 employee workforce.

Company officials say the realignment is part of a broader effort to what they call "the new healthcare environment."

Renown said most of the affected positions are in management and administration. Employees that are let go will get severance pay and full benefits.

US To Pay Nevada $65K In Settlement Over Radioactive Waste
By The Associated Press

The U.S. Department of Energy has agreed to pay Nevada $65,000 after the government mislabeled and mischaracterized low-level radioactive waste that was shipped to a disposal site north of Las Vegas for more than five years. The settlement agreement announced Thursday certifies multiple changes have been made to prevent unapproved waste from being shipped to the Nevada National Security Site. The Energy Department notified Nevada in July 2019 that 33 packages of unapproved waste were sent to the site between 2013 to 2018 from another department site in Tennessee. The waste was unrelated to weapons-grade plutonium the Department of Energy secretly trucked to the same site in 2018.

Nevada Fighters No Longer Penalized For Marijuana Tests
By The Associated Press

Nevada athletic regulators voted this week to remove penalties for boxers and MMA fighters who test positive for marijuana. The decision follows the controversial move by the United States Anti-Doping Agency to suspend American sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson after she tested positive for marijuana, forcing her to miss the Olympics this month. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the Nevada Athletic Commission voted to immediately remove any penalties for a fighter who tests positive for the chemicals found in marijuana. A fighter who appears to be under the influence of the drug on a fight night could still be sanctioned.

Oakland A's Could Soon Play In Vegas
By KUNR Staff

The Oakland Athletics could start playing in southern Nevada even if they don't have their own stadium.

As reported by the Las Vegas Review Journal, the Major League Baseball franchise could play in its Las Vegas-based minor league ballpark if the team fails to renegotiate a lease with the city of Oakland.

That means the A's could start playing at the Triple-A Aviator's Las Vegas Ballpark by the 2025 season.

Paul Boger is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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