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Disasters & Accidents

More Growth Expected For Fast Moving Fire East of Eugene / Springfield

Cookie Swetland

A fire sparked Monday night along the McKenzie River Highway has grown substantially. The Lane County Sheriff has issued level 3 –go- evacuations from Walterville all the way to McKenzie Bridge.

Jen O’Leary is a public information officer with Northwest Oregon Interagency Fire Management team. She says the Holiday Farm Fire startedas multiple ignitions between mileposts 43 and 47.

O’Leary said with the heat and high winds the fire grew rapidly.

“There is a potential to see the kind of rapid fire growth that was experienced overnight," O'Leary said.  "There’s the potential to see that continue today, overnight tonight, and into tomorrow.”

Lane County Administrator Steve Mokrohisky Tuesday morning told the Board of Commissioners he’d heard there were 80 to 100 buildings destroyed in the small community of Blue River overnight. O’Leary tells KLCC they cannot confirm that until fire crews can safely go into the area to assess the damage.

Credit Mike Matarrese
This is Blue River on Tuesday afternoon after a conflagration consumed many of the buildings in the small McKenzie River town.

The Lane County Board of Commissioners has declared a state of emergency for the fire. Governor Kate Brown has declared a disaster in Lane and Marion Counties due to wildfires. 

Hundreds of people have been evacuated from communities along the McKenzie River due to the Holiday Farm Fire.

People are asked to check in at the evacuation point at Thurston High School in Springfield. Evacuation supervisor Angela Michaud said because of the pandemic, operations are a little different from usual.

“We normally would open a shelter and give people cots but because of COVID we can’t do that.” Michaud said, “So, we are asking people to stay in their vehicles or near them, of course, wearing their masks and taking protective measures.”

Michaud said community members have brought food and water and other items for evacuees. The operation may have to move if evacuation orders are raised for Thurston Road. A red flag warning is in place for fire weather through Wednesday.  

Evacuation info: https://www.lanecounty.org/cms/one.aspx?pageId=17035134

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