Forest debris and logged trees sit at the base of a scorched forest next to the Mckenzie River near the Leaburg Dam. Nearly a year after the Holiday Farm Fire tore through the Blue River community, evidence of its destruction can still be found in the blackened trees and barren home foundations left behind by those displaced by the fire.
Andy Carrino, a Blue River resident, stands in front of his red van. Carrino lived in his van for 43 days after the Holiday Farm fire destroyed his home. On September 8, 2020, the first night of the fire, Carrino and his wife left their home in a frenzy around midnight, after the fire spread to the hillside behind their house. Carrino says, “the next morning, we woke up in our van with my parrot, my dog, my wife in front of my son’s house, and I leaned over and wished her a happy 25th anniversary.”
Fire battalion Chief Dana Burwell stands in the Mckenzie Fire and Rescue fire station. When the Holiday farm fire—that burned 170,000 acres in 2020—began, Burwell worked for two days to help save buildings and evacuate people from the blaze. Burwell, having grown up near the Blue River community, says watching his friend’s houses burn down was emotionally draining. “I just didn’t have anything left,” Burwell says.