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For Fire Evacuees, An Anxious Wait To Go Back

Brian Bull

Evacuation levels are being downgraded for some areas around the Holiday Farm Fire that’s burned over 166,000 acres and destroyed more than 300 structures.  As can be expected, evacuees are more than ready to come home.

Crews are slowly containing the fire, which drove hundreds of people out of Vida, Blue River, and other towns last week. 

“It came within a mile and a half of my home, so far it’s still standing,” recalled LeighAnn Blodgett, from the Upper Mohawk Valley. 

I asked what she was able to leave with.

Credit Lane County
The evacuation zone map for the Holiday Farm Fire as of 9/14/20 at 2pm.

“Everything that was worth anything, even my lawn mower!” she laughed.

“My mom had recently had hip replacement surgery, and I’m her caregiver," said Shelby Todd of Marcola. "So Tuesday afternoon we left, and it was chaotic getting out even at Level 2, there were cars backed up on Marcola Road for miles.”

Both women are staying at the Graduate Hotel-Eugene for free, thanks to the Red Cross. Many hotels are near capacity with evacuees, who are anxious to get back and pick up the pieces. Forestry officials warn damage to the area poses short and long-term hazards.

Resources and Information:

The regional Red Cross office can be contacted at (503)284-1234, or at 313 North Vancouver Avenue, Portland OR 97227.

For assistance with disaster response, administrators ask people to please call (888) 680-1455

Note: If you're an Oregon resident who's dealing with a wildfire evacuation or related issues - or work with such invididuals - visit KLCC's contact page to share your situation with our newsdepartment. 

Copyright 2020, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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