Wind to test containment lines on Holiday Farm Fire

The fire’s perimeter measures more than 260 miles

Posted: Sep 23, 2020 4:09 PM
Updated: Sep 23, 2020 4:10 PM

BLUE RIVER, Ore. – Just a day before wind and rain was expected to move into Western Oregon, fire officials said the Holiday Farm Fire stayed put at 173,094 acres.

Containment has reached 27%. There are 1,057 people assigned to the fire.

Below are resources for those who have been affected by the fire:

  • Emotional Support Line: 1-800-923-HELP (4357)
  • Disaster Stress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. This line is available in 100 languages, 24 hours a day 7 days a week
  • In-person crisis support with Lane County Behavioral Health: The Graduate Hotel, 66 E. 6th Ave. Eugene, Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m.

Winds this afternoon is expected to put containment lines to the test, the first time since thunderstorms last week. Fire officials said there's been significant drying since the rain we saw during the thunderstorms, and wind is expected to reach up to 20 mph with gusts up to 40 mph. 

Firefighters have been spending their time preparing for the wind, strengthening lines and continuing mopping up operations.

Of the buildings destroyed, officials say 431 are homes and 24 are non-residential commercial structures.

While all Level 3 notices having been downgraded, Highway 126 remains closed from milepost 28 to 40 for safety, response, and repair work. 

There are several pockets of unburned vegetation in the fire perimeter, so residents may see smoke and should not be alarmed.

Up to seven helicopters have been available to help fight the fire, cooling the edges to allow crews to construct direct line along the perimeter. The Leaburg Dam has been powered and refilled and is now available as a strategic dip site for heavy helicopters.

On Sunday, heavy mop-op operations were underway in several areas throughout the fire. While the terrain, combined with the recent thunderstorm showers, posed challenges for fire crews to gain direct access to the fire’s edge, they took advantage of the cooler weather Sunday to tighten up fire lines and keep the main fire from spreading much further.

One person was injured by a fallen tree limb while working to clear roads in the fire area last week. The man was taken to the hospital for evaluation and treatment. His injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.

So far, one person has been confirmed dead. More than 200 people reported missing have been found.

Out-of-state resources have replaced Lane County fire crews. This will allow crews to return to their homes. They will remain heavily involved in the effort and can be called back in if there is a need.

Officials emphasized that the name refers to a business in the area that provided a useful landmark for incoming fire crews. The business had nothing to do with the cause of the fire.

WATCH: FIRSTHAND EXPERIENCE & DASHCAM VIDEO OF THE FIRST NIGHT OF THE HOLIDAY FARM FIRE

In earlier days, fire officials discussed containment levels.

"Our fire officers have to be confident that if fire pushes on that line it's not going to go over it," said information officer Damon Simmons. "Barring a wind event or something, that line is going to hold if it is tested by fire. That's when they are going to declare it contained."

Earlier burnout operations were successful in the southwestern corner of the fire to establish a solid control line.

"As you know, fires on the landscape are a natural process. Low-intensity fires are good for the landscape. These high intensity really harsh burns that we get with the high winds are really hard on the landscape and kill a lot of trees," said Simmons.

The White House has approved an emergency declaration for the state. The declaration will provide assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to Oregon and includes temporary housing for displaced evacuees. There will also be an opportunity for additional fire resources.

Below are the current evacuation levels:

  • LEVEL 2: Highway 126 from Camp Creek Road to McKenzie Ranger Station, including connecting roads.
  • LEVEL 2: Residents on Deerhorn Road and connecting roads from the west entrance at Highway 126 to the last residential property.
  • LEVEL 1: Residents in the Fall Creek and Winberry areas.
  • LEVEL 1: Residents along Camp Creek Road east of Oak Point Road, Upper Camp Creek Road and Wendling.
  • LEVEL 1: Highway 126 from McKenzie Ranger Station to the junction of Highway 126 and Highway 20.

Posted by Holiday Farm Fire on Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

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Reported Deaths: 885
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