This story has been updated. See below.
The McKenzie River community of Blue River and Vida are is apparently a “total loss” and at least one county employee has lost a loved one to the McKenzie fire, aka the Holiday Farm Fire, according to an email that went out to some Lane County employees the afternoon of Tuesday Sept. 8. This story will be updated as information becomes available.
The email says:
“This is a tragic day of epic proportions for Lane County. It appears that the communities of Blue River and Vida are a total loss – including an estimated 150 homes at this point. We have lost the Goodpasture Covered Bridge, the Belknap Covered Bridge and likely the McKenzie Bridge and Vida transfer stations. Over 1,000 homes have been evacuated.
Various options are currently being explored to house families that have been displaced, coordinate donation of supplies, and provide air quality respite for vulnerable populations. The livestock area at the Fairgrounds is being utilized to shelter displaced animals….
A Level 2 (be ready to evacuate) Notice has been added for entire Mohawk Valley, including Camp Creek Road and Upper Camp Creek Road to the Linn County line. A level 1 (be aware and potentially ready to evacuate) Notice has been added as a precaution depending on shifting winds for the Fall Creek, Winberry, and Lowell areas north from Hills Creek to Signal Point Boat Ramp.
At least one employee in the County has lost a loved one to the fires. Our hearts go out to the loss all around us.”
The Holiday Farm fire started three miles west of McKenzie Bridge the evening of Monday, Sept. 7, due to an unknown cause, according to the National Interagency Coordination Center. It is 0 percent contained.
Update 4 pm Sept. 8: The Blue River Bulletin Facebook page says the losses may not be as severe as reported.
Update 10 pm Sept. 8: The Holiday Farm Fire Facebook incident page says the Goodpasture Covered Bridge was OK as of Sept. 8.
Update noon Sept. 9: The Oregon Department of Forestry’s Holiday Farm Incident page says “that, despite the best efforts of firefighters, Blue River has been heavily affected with most of the structures destroyed. McKenzie High School, however, was saved. Firefighters were also able to save a majority of the structures in Vida.” The fire is now 105,000 acres.