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McKenzie Highway Reopens

by Sierra Larson

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will open an outreach center at Lane Events Center starting tomorrow, 3 October 2020, to assist those affected by the Holiday Farm Fire. The outreach center will be located in Meeting Room 1 and be open from 8 AM to 6 PM.

Photo by Max Andre

The fire is currently 65% contained. McKenzie Highway (Highway 126) reopened today, with a lowered speed limit of 45 miles per hour. But things look very different. Tim Ingalsbee, executive director of Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, and Ecology (FUSEE) told Eugene Weekly:

“Folks should prepare themselves for blackened, barren hillsides bordering the river. It’ll be like going back in time to the 1980s – or whenever those clearcuts were first put in place. It’s going to be ghastly for folks.”

Angela Beers-Seydel of Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) said to expect the road to still have some hazards due to damage from the fire, especially during rainy weather. “We’ll see flooding because the ditches are full of debris,” she said. “All of those pieces make it so it’s not the road that people expect it to be and it’s won’t be for a long time.”

ODOT urges everyone who does not work or live in the area to avoid the highway and other roads affected by the fire. Check for alternate routes at tripcheck.com.

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