Oregon Wildfires: Stay Informed & Prioritize Your Mental Health

September 10, 2020

What’s Going On

Over the past few days, wildfires have swept across Oregon and much of the west coast. With little relief from current weather conditions, Governor Kate Brown stated that, “This could be the greatest loss of human lives and property due to wildfire in our state’s history.” Many people across Oregon have had to evacuate and some have tragically perished, while others have lost their homes and belongings.

In east Lane County, The McKenzie/Holiday Farm Fire has spread to over 145,000 acres with 0% containment. Even with fire crews working tirelessly in the area, the McKenzie Valley has already seen tremendous loss. Further west, Eugene and Springfield are experiencing extremely hazardous smoke and air quality from the wildfire.

What Can You Do Right Now to Cope

The World Health Organization states that almost all people in emergencies will experience psychological distress. In the midst of disaster, there are steps you can take to focus on your emotional health. But first and foremost, we want you to know you are not alone and we are grieving along with you and the entire community.

Physical Safety Comes First

Your physical safety matters most. Please pay attention to Lane County’s 3 level evacuation system:

Level 1 means be ready. This is the time for preparation. You should be aware of the danger that exists in their area, monitor emergency services websites and local media for information.

Level 2 means be set. This level indicates that there is significant danger to your area and residents should either voluntarily relocate to a shelter or with family/friends outside of the affected area. Be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice.

Level 3 means GO. Leave immediately! DO NOT take time to gather things. DO NOT delay leaving your property to gather any belongings or make efforts to protect your home. GO NOW!

If you are physically safe, be sure to stay indoors away from harmful smoke and turn your attention to emotional management.

Connect with Others

Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a family member or a friend. Maintaining your support system during this time is important. Call, text and email family and friends. They want to hear from you and there’s no time like the present to reach out.

Take Care of Yourself

As much as you can during this time, continue to eat well-balanced meals, keep to a routine and prioritize sleep. We realize this is an extraordinarily challenging time, but healthy distraction can help.

Stay Informed

You’re likely to become more stressed when you are missing information. Watch or read updates from official sources so that you are in the know as the situation progresses.

Seek Help

For assistance and more information on the McKenzie/Holiday Farm Fire, you can reach the non-emergency call center at 541-682-3977.

We Are Here to Support You

At Eugene Therapy, we want to be here for you and support you in any way that we can. Crisis counseling can help people cope with trauma and many of our therapists specialize in grief and loss counseling. If you are experiencing loss or displacement due to the recent fires and need someone to talk to, you can request an appointment with us today. If you have limited means to afford sessions we will work with you to provide services or appropriate referrals wherever possible.

Wildfire Resources

Check out the resources listed below to stay informed about the wildfires and keep updated on what safety measures to take depending on where you are.

County News/Emergency Alerts

Information on the McKenzie/Holiday Farm Fire

Fire & Hotspots Map

Air Quality Index

Road Conditions/Closures

Emergency Lodging

More resources/information on wildfires in Oregon

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