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Following Wildfires, Blue River Relief Workers Prepare For Cold, Damp Winter

Brian Bull

Winter is coming…and for residents of the McKenzie River Corridor, that means further hardship on top of the Holiday Farm Fire that destroyed more than 400 homes in September. But helpers are preparing in advance.

At the Blue River Relief Center, coordinator Madison Kleiner walks through a school gymnasium filled with donated clothes, food, and appliances.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Madison Kleiner, coordinator of the Blue River relief center.

“We have bedding and towels on our right, we have a bookshelf, we have a game shelf, we have many tables of toys…”

The relief center here is one of three set up along the area hit by wildfires this year. Kleiner says their big focus now is winter preparations.

“So we will be here for at least the next six months. There is a prediction that we will be without power for weeks without any relief this winter, and we’ll be stuck in McKenzie Bridge and Blue River.”

Besides the usual food and clothes, Kleiner hopes people donate winter gear, snowshoes, and camping stoves.  Christmas and Hannukah presents are also welcome.

Copyright 2020, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ 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.