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Commissioners call for National Guard to help fight Holiday Farm Fire

“This is one of those times in our lives where we are feeling as a community heartfelt palpable trauma and it’s a full on emergency," Buch said.

Posted: Sep 10, 2020 12:11 PM
Updated: Sep 10, 2020 6:28 PM

LANE COUNTY, Ore. -- Lane County Commissioner Heather Buch said the county needs more resources to help fight the Holiday Farm Fire and is asking for the National Guard to come help.

"This is one of those times in our lives where we are feeling as a community heartfelt palpable trauma and it’s a full-on emergency," Buch said.

Buch said she hopes those resources are on their way but recognizes that they are trying to mobilize them for multiple fires across the state, not just the one burning close to home. 

"We are doing the best we can with what we've got. There are people on the ground working their hearts out 24/7 and a lot of these people have lost their own homes and they’re still working on fighting this fire and I want to tell them thank you," Buch said. 

"People are exhausted and person power doesn't exist we do not have near the resources that would normally be necessary to fight a fire this size," Commissioner Joe Berney said. 

She said all hands are on deck and the county has to do everything they can to help those people who are in harm's way. Buch is looking to get more firefighters, more equipment and overall more hands working the flames.

"Over 3,000 people have been displaced from this fire so far and there are more (people) under Level 1 evacuation orders. We hope to keep that as steady as possible today without putting more evacuation orders out but we just don’t know what the weather will give us," Buch said.

Buch is urging people to stay away from where the Level 3 evacuation orders are in place. She said it slows down the fire crews, making it hard for them to do their jobs and it is not safe for anyone to go in at this time.

She told KEZI 9 News it is too early to go back in and evaluate who is missing and who might not have survived. She said the county is still in emergency evacuation mode and once it's safe to go back in they will.

Buch said they expect loss of life in this fire but they have no idea just how much at this time. She added that they expect extensive damage to properties and land.

"It is a very somber and focused time for dealing with the issue," Berney said. The immediate issue he said is saving lives. 

Local leaders acknowledge that no one could've prepared for what we are going through right now. 

"We currently are in a place no one has known before in terms of pandemic right, economic shut down virtually or downturn, the social unrest, the divisiveness of elections and this," Berney said. 

However, that doesn't take away from the fact that our county is struggling right now. 

"This is coming on the heels of just having dipped into reserves more than sometimes prudent in order to deal with the preceding crisis so we going to do everything we can based on what we can based upon what we can and its people and property and lives first," Berney said. 

People who are willing to share and offer resources to those who have been affected by the fire should contact United Way of Lane County. They opened up a wildfire fund and Buch said if you contribute there those resources will stay local to the people who have been directly affected.

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