By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Fire behavior moderated over the weekend and crews started building containment lines but there is no schedule for evacuees to return to their homes.
It has been a week since hundreds of people fled for their lives from fires in the Santiam and McKenzie River canyons — many to Central Oregon where they are being put up in hotels by the Red Cross.
Seven days later they still have no information as to when they’ll be allowed to go home.
“Right now it is so unhealthy. The smoke is so thick. Carbon monoxide detectors are going off in all the homes,” Tim Kirsch, Mayor of Mill City, said. “It is not a good situation for anybody especially for those with compromised breathing or asthma or anything like that”
The Linn and Marion county sheriff’s departments are beginning to publish lists of businesses that were damaged or destroyed.
Assessing damage to homes will take longer because there are so many homes tucked away in the woods in areas that are difficult to reach.
Lionshead Fire bosses said Monday at least 246 homes and 14 businesses have been destroyed.
“Everything is burned up about 1/4-mile from my place but my place is good,” Niall Waters, who lives in McKenzie Bridge, said. “I live right behind Blue Sky Market and Takoda’s Restaurant and those three places didn’t get touched.”
The Red Cross has put up evacuees in four hotels in Bend and Redmond.
Central Oregonians are donating mountains of clothes, food and hygiene supplies and nonprofits are quickly running out of room to store it all.
Erin Haynes with Point Hope says they filled their van twice with donations from the community and spent three days sorting.
“We are looking for hygiene products, gift cards or monetary donations so we can get specific products for the families,” Haynes said. “Roght now we have tons of clothes and tons of shoes. So if anybody needs anything, they can reach out to us to get whatever they need.”
Mill City Mayor Tim Kirsch says it may be the end of this week before people are allowed back into Mill City, which he says lost far fewer homes than Lyons, Gates and Detroit.
“Be patient on coming back into town,” Kirsch said. “We are working on getting it to a place where we can do an organized re-entrance and then it’s going to be a lot of work.”