PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — One person has been killed in the Holiday Farm Fire near the Eugene-Springfield metro area, officials confirmed Friday evening, as the wildfire grew to 156,708 acres and remains uncontained.
The deceased person was found in a residence near what was Goodpasture Road in Vida, according to the Lane County Sheriff’s Office. First responders will work with the Medical Examiner’s Office to identify the deceased, which authorities warned may take some time.
More than 400 firefighting personnel are battling this blaze that erupted Monday as high winds ripped through the state. No one has been injured at this time, but Lane County authorities said 17,732 structures are threatened.
The Oregon National Guard are staffing road checkpoints, which allows county deputies to patrol neighborhoods.
Roads are closed, trees are weakened and falling rock and debris are issues, authorities said.
Communities in both Lane and Linn counties are in various stages of Levels 1, 2 or 3 evacuation orders.
The sheer scope of those displaced from their homes was evident at Springfield High School’s Silke Field, where stacks and stacks of bottled water and food were being collected for evacuees. Clothes, blankets and informational booths about temporary shelter options were made available to those in need, facilitated by dozens of volunteers.
Oregon State Fire Marshal Public Information Officer Brian Richardson told KOIN 6 News a “significant change in our weather,” was a fortunate turn of events in the past 24 hours, in the form of humidity.
“Just having that moisture in the air has been helpful,” Richardson said. He added that more resources on the ground in the form of partnering agencies has also been a big help. The damage assessment phase has yet to take place as fire fighters are continuing to work on protection of life and property, he said.
Earlier Friday members of Oregon’s congressional delegation visited Thurston Middle School, a makeshift command post of state and local fire officials battling the Holiday Farm Fire.
U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio and U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley were briefed about the status of the fire by Oregon State Fire Marshal Operations Chief Alex Haven and others.
All seven members of Oregon’s delegation, which included U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenmauer, Greg Walden, Kurt Shrader and Suzanne Bonamici, had pushed for rapid approval of Governor Kate Brown’s request for federal disaster relief. The emergency declaration request was granted by President Trump Thursday night.
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