DeFazio, Buch, FEMA administrator tour Holiday Farm Fire zone

Rep. Peter DeFazio and FEMA Region 10 administrator Michael O'Hare discussed potential options for evacuees impacted by fires.

Posted: Sep 17, 2020 6:12 PM
Updated: Sep 17, 2020 6:13 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- On Thursday, Rep. Peter DeFazio toured the Holiday Farm Fire area to assess damage and disaster relief efforts.

He was joined by Lane County Commissioner Heather Buch and Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Michael O'Hare.

The fire has destroyed more than 700 structures, causing thousands to evacuate. 

O'Hare said FEMA is exploring multiple options to help those affected. This includes individual housing and long-term sheltering for up to 18 months, as well as low-interest loans. FEMA also plans to financially assist those who are uninsured and assist small businesses. 

DeFazio said there are even discussions about potentially putting interim shelters back in the community for the people to live in once it's safe. 

"They've already had discussions with some of the lodges already putting people up for free," DeFazio said. "They pointed out that St. Benedict's is empty and that can house a lot of people. There may be options to work with FEMA to pay these lodges for people to be back in their community and help with their community's recovery which would be a wonderful way to move forward."

DeFazio added that disaster assistance for growers who lost their crops may be necessary.

"We're going to looking to the Department of Agriculture, the Small Business Administration, the Corps of Engineers, we are going to have everything from the Federal government involved here to help us rebuild," DeFazio said. "Again, we have to deal with McKenzie River Corridor. We have to get the hazardous waste out of there. We've got to protect the drinking water supply. We've got to bring back that resource as quickly as possible and mitigate the damage long term to the McKenzie."

Those impacted by the fires can register with FEMA here, or call 1-800-621-3362 for further assistance. 

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