As reported by KVAL13, at least 431 homes and 31 other structures in the McKenzie River Valley have been destroyed by the Holiday Farm Fire, and countless others suffered damage. Lane County officials released a searchable online map of damaged properties today. The map includes photos, which residents can download for their records and send to insurance companies.
With residents slowly being allowed to return to their homes and businesses, county and state officials urge caution. Hazards include downed trees, unstable structures, falling debris, toxic substances, asbestos exposure, and ash. McKenzie Stage Stop Restaurant owner Dale Wilson told KGW8 News that when he returned to his restaurant after a nine-day evacuation, he found that a lot of the food he had in his coolers had spoiled because of the power outages. He and his staff had to throw it all away and clean up the mess before reopening. “It’s been a lot of work,” he said.
In today’s Holiday Farm Fire Briefing, officials reminded everyone that the evacuation zones did not change today and that the Lane County Sheriff has the authority to restrict access during the evacuation. Oregon Department of Transportation asked everyone to avoid Highway 126 as much as possible as there continue to be many hazards. It is open for non-emergency officials only at certain times of day,
Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) is monitoring water quality after people complained about the smell and taste of their water. All tests so far have come back indicating that the water is safe to drink. The test results are available online for the public to view.
As the Holiday Farm Fire situation continues to evolve, Bare Sole Project is here to provide support to displaced and homeless individuals in the affected area. This morning, we received this heartfelt message of gratitude from one of the evacuees we helped shelter:
I wanna start off by saying thank you for everything you guys have done for us. Everything with the fire has taken away so much for so many families. We just happen to make Lazy Days RV Park Campground our destination during our road to success. We are not a resident of Blue River but definitely was on our agenda. We were staying from camping on the campground through the summer, trying to find our new spot to call home. Unfortunately, you know and I know that before it ever gets better it gets worse and that’s exactly what happened on that day. That day, September 7, which was my 29th birthday, everything seemed to be looking up. Me and the lady and kid, couple family members figured that well since it’s my birthday I might get lucky and catch a fish. We were wrong. Odds, they’re against me! My 27th birthday, well that day my 4-month-old went to be with the Lord! The struggle is definitely real in times like this. We definitely need on another. Blue River there was what I call the Little House on the Prairie town. Nothing like country living. Definitely had something new hopes and wishes. Figured going there with a life-changing mindset and getting there and keeping that mindset was something special then bam! I know that there are definitely a lot of families that have lost more than we have right now. There’s not a place or time to pick and choose whose story’s better. Trying to better your life, build your family, and get on to living to have it go up in smoke because whatever hurts you as a man when you have no control over the situation! We are more than average when it comes to loving, caring, understanding, we are them people! Losing a fresh start most people dream of getting is a nightmare! As of now, everything that you and this organization put on giving us the opportunity to have supplemental housing, food, and what not is greatly appreciated beyond words could explain. I’m looking forward to also volunteering. Sharing the word of a fiery start having come to ashes is my story. I have so much more to say but I’m not too sure if I said too much considering everything has been done to us. Housing, food. Socialism, it is amazing. Anything new that I could do, please let me know. Thank you again so much for me and my family. (Edited slightly for grammar and spelling.)
Bare Sole Project would like to thank all of the donors who make it possible to help families like this one. If you are in a position to donate, please do so here. If you are currently displaced or without a home due to the fire, we are here to help you. You can submit a request for emergency assistance here.