Lane County’s Emergency Management Department is receiving $1.02 million in federal reimbursement dollars to cover costs for safeguarding the McKenzie River from contaminants during the Holiday Farm Fire.

U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced the funding from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency. In a release, Wyden said the county’s measures to protect the McKenzie were “challenging and expensive.”

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A roadside sign welcomes people to Blue River, Oregon, as smoke fills the skies from the 2020 Holiday Farm fire.

A sign welcomes people to Blue River, Oregon which was leveled by the 2020 Holiday Farm Fire.

Brian Bull / KLCC

Lane County Commissioner Heather Buch told KLCC that upriver communities continue to rebuild from the 2020 wildfire, so the FEMA money is appreciated.

“It’s fantastic news,” she said. “We don’t want that kind of hazardous material entering the single water source for down river, and nor do we want it in the McKenzie River at all. It’s really important to keep that water source clean and contamination free.”

The McKenzie is the water source for the Eugene and Springfield Metro areas.

The Holiday Farm Fire burned over 173,000 acres and destroyed 1,100 buildings.

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