Search Teams Use Canines To Look For Human Remains In Fire’s Path

Sep 16, 2020

Update: There are three people still unaccounted for in the area of the Holiday Farm Fire that sparked on Labor Day in the McKenzie River Valley. That’s down from 236, according to the Lane County Sheriff’s Office. Federal teams are helping in the search.

An 80-person team is on the ground in Blue River, Vida and other communities along the Highway 126 corridor, searching through the fire’s aftermath for human remains.  Neal Aspesi with the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Support Team said each squad has a canine with them.

“The canines are invaluable, obviously.” Aspesi said. “You know, we have a bunch of equipment that we can use but the dogs can do a really rapid sense to see if they hit on anything.”

Aspesi said they flag anything found by the canines and local authorities take it from there.  There are teams in Jackson and Marion Counties as well helping with the search.  One casualty has been found so far in the Holiday Farm Fire.

The Lane County Sheriff is managing the search teams. Any one with information on missing people or who needs to report a missing person in connection with the Holiday Farm Fire should call the Lane County hotline: 541-682-3977.

More information on evacuations and damage assessments at

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