Significant Loss of Homes Expected In Holiday Farm Fire
The Incident Commander of the Holiday Farm Fire in the McKenzie River Watershed said the community should brace for a significant loss of homes.
“Our structural task force and wildlands crews, they’ll have saved hundreds of homes.” Said Ian Yocum. “We’re still in an active firefight We’re still working within those homes at the front of that fire to protect as many homes as possible.”
Yocum said many of the firefighters have themselves lost homes in the blaze.
At a media briefing Thursday he said crews will start damage assessment within the next few days. He urged community members to respect evacuation levels and stay out for their own safety and that of fire crews.
“Please, please stay out of the evacuated areas.” Yocum said. “There’s still falling trees, debris. Highway 126, we constantly have crews working to keep that road open for our emergency crews.”
The Holiday Farm Fire is burning along Highway 126 and the McKenzie River. Officials say the fire’s size, growth, and destruction is beyond anything they’ve ever experienced. Evacuation orders are in place from McKenzie Ranger Station west to Thurston Rd. and in the Mohawk Valley. Lane County Sheriff Clifton Harrold expects those orders to remain for the time being.
Harrold said they have not seen widespread looting in areas evacuated by the 145 thousand acre Holiday Farm Fire in the McKenzie River valley.
Harrold said the National Guard arrived Thursday to help free up law enforcement to patrol the communities along the McKenzie River that have been evacuated.
“We understand it’s a big deal when we’ve asked you to leave your home.” Harrold said. “We’re going to do the best job we can patrolling those areas. We’re going to be contacting people we find in those areas. We’re going to be identifying those people. And I want the community to know, criminal behavior is not going to be tolerated. We’re going to take enforcement action as necessary on those situations.”
Harrold urges people to stay out of evacuated areas so firefighters can do their work. He describes dangerous conditions where trees continue to fall and he was concerned for his own deputies who have been there.
Harrold says to check the Lane County websitefor updates on evacuations or call 541-682-3977
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