Wildfire Collection

Information about the Holiday Farm Wildfire for future generations to understand this tragic historic event.

The Holiday Farm Wildfire in 2020 was the most significant event in the McKenzie School District in the last 100 years. We have recorded people’s experiences of that event so others can learn of the challenges and resiliency it  bought. This Collection is intended to serve that purpose.


Thirty six people whose lives have been changed by the wildfire were interviewed by students in the University of Oregon’s Environmental Leadership Program soon after the fire.  These interviews are provided so readers can better understand people’s experiences and thoughts during this historically significant event.

Story Maps

These Story Maps were compiled by the University of Oregon Students, based on the interviews described above.

People and Place: The Story of Finn Rock. By Courtney Kaltenbach

This Story Map includes interviews with Bill Burwell, Joe and Billie Ruth Rose, Doyle Hawks (residents of the Rosboro Logging Camp), Lane Tompkins (McKenzie River School Superintendent), Brandi Ferguson (Associate Director of Philanthropy at McKenzie River Trust), and Nancy Ashley (resident).  The story includes a focus on the history of Finn Rock – the kids of the Rosboro Logging Camp, the McKenzie River Community School, the transition of ownership from Rosboro to the McKenzie River Trust, the Holiday Farm Wildfire of September 2020, and the recovery post-fire.

The McKenzie: A story of loss and resilience.   By Alex Binder

Includes interviews with Jim and Jane Russell (residents, White Water Ranch), Xochilt Diaz (resident, kindergarten teacher for McKenzie River Community School), Courtney Lewis (resident who lost home), Lorrie Rover (resident who lost home). Includes a discussion on the ecological impacts, climate, and relationship to loss and recovery. Includes maps of fire progression, evacuation zones, and closure zones.

The Holiday Farm Wildfire Experience. McKenzie River resident stories about living through a wildfire, before, during and after.  By Georgia Dowling

This story map begins with an overview of the fire (and a map of the progression of the fire’s perimeter) and the project – outlining the partnership between the University of Oregon’s Environmental Leadership Program and the McKenzie Education Foundation, the McKenzie River Trust, the Lane County History Museum and the Dream Lab at UO.  Includes interviews with Darren Buchich (McKenzie fire/rescue chief), Pete Petty (resident, founder Blue River Bottle Boys), Kit Price (resident), Kent Roberts (owner Harbick’s Country Inn).

Reflections on the Holiday Farm Fire. Interviews with community members connected to the wildfire. By Erika Eden.

This Story Map includes interviews with Dana Burwell, David Jensen, Shelly Pruitt, Jeff Parker, and focuses on the actions of firefighters, local organizations with helping hands, advice for others going through a natural disaster, and ends highlighting how the sturgeon at the hatchery were saved.

Disaster as Opportunity. Preparedness & Recovery: Lessons from the Holiday Farm Wildfire By Annie Williams.

Begins by providing an overview of the Holiday Farm Wildfire and the oral history project to document the impacts of the fire. Highlights the strength of rural communities and includes an exploration of planning within the McKenzie Valley community and recommendations of steps for a more resilient community in the future. Includes interviews with James Baker (resident), Valerie Rapp (McKenzie Bridge resident), and Devin Thompson (Wildfire Restoration Community Coordinator).

Holiday Farm Wildfire: Stories of Community. Individual relationships within communities build resilience. By Hana Francis.

Includes interviews with Doug Fairrington (pastor for the Living Waters Family Fellowship), Patence Winningham (resident, grew up in Blue River), Matt McRae (Long Term Disaster Recovery Manager for the Holiday Farm Wildfire), Lee Kounovsky (Sheds of Hope, McKenzie High School), and Kayla White (resident who lost home).

The Holiday Farm Wildfire. The Importance of Community. By Myrthe Stalenhoef.

Includes interviews of Shelly Pruitt (resident), Jennifer Zirkle (manager relief center), and Elaine Bryson (resident). Includes the evacuation map and highlights the efforts of the relief center and the rebuilding process.

Rebuilding After the McKenzie Holiday Farm Wildfire. A Story of Community Resilience. By Eugene Davis.

This story map begins with section on the evacuation, then highlights disaster aid (FEMA, Red Cross and community nonprofits), and then resident’s experiences with insurance companies. Includes interviews with Margaret Beilharz, Melanie Stanley, Cheryl Friesen, and Ken Rawles.

Scrapbook – Newspapers

The McKenzie River Clearwater Coalition has compiled links to daily newspaper articles during the year after the fire on their website here.

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