Holiday Farm Fire

Announcements and Information

Community Update – October 2021

Rebuilding an Even More Resilient System:

Today, we are one step closer to helping rebuild the McKenzie community stronger than before. FEMA officially committed $19.9 million toward costs to repair and significantly improve infrastructure damaged by the wildfire.

The FEMA grant is significant because the funding helps cover crucial expenses associated with building a more resilient power system. This includes undergrounding the majority of the power lines in the McKenzie area. Undergrounding helps mitigate the extreme weather risks above-ground power lines are susceptible to, such as wind, snow, ice and landslides and also reduces system maintenance and overall upkeep.

Currently, more than half of Lane Electric’s distribution system (754 miles of line) is underground, which is significantly higher than the national average. With the funding from FEMA, we not only plan to bury power lines in the McKenzie area, but we continue to explore options to underground more lines each year throughout our entire service territory. More information about overhead and underground power lines is available here.

While we are eager to start the rebuilding process, we are committed to doing so effectively. We enlisted a local engineering firm to create a plan for building an even more resilient system. Additionally, we are collaborating with Lane County Emergency Management to finalize our plan and discuss more ways to mitigate risks for the community. Furthermore, we’re engaging other utility providers to explore bringing their services underground with us.

It’s important to note that these rebuilding efforts will come at no cost to our members. We will continue to share more details about the plan, including rebuilding timelines as they are available.

Temporary Power:
There are temporary power options available for those who have lost their home and are beginning rebuilding efforts. For those ready to start the rebuilding process, we ask that you review our new construction guide and electric service & guidelines booklet before you begin any work. Please see the Electric Service FAQ below to answer any questions you may have. If you are using a backup generator, we urge you to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your generator carefully. We’ve provided some safety tips here and encourage you to review them.

Lane Electric is also fully committed to understanding the cause of the fire, which is currently under investigation. We are cooperating with federal and state authorities and are unaware that any of our assets contributed to the cause of the fire at this time. A thorough investigation will take time and patience.

We appreciate our members’ patience and support as we work towards rebuilding our community. As always, please stay safe and do not approach down power lines. Always assume they are energized.

Pro Bono Fire Resources:

The Oregon Trial Lawyers Association has established a hotline and pro bono resources to support victims of fire-damaged homes, businesses and property by providing free consultations about insurance claims and next steps. Click here for more information.

Additional Resources:

Oregon Department of Forestry Holiday Farm Fire Information

Lane County Holiday Farm Fire Resources

ODOT Wildfire Response and Recovery

ODOT Trip Check

Electric Service FAQ

Home Wasn’t Destroyed by the Fire

Q: What actions do I need to take to get service restored?

A: Please contact our engineering team at 541-484-1151 and they will be happy to assist you.

Q: Can Lane Electric provide a diagram to show me what I’m looking at to understand the power lines to my property so that I know what might need to be repaired?

A: Please contact our engineering team at 541-484-1151 and they will communicate the technical details of your electric service.

 Home Was Destroyed by the Fire

Q: I’m hiring an electrician to install a meter base and RV hookup for temporary power while rebuilding. Where should I put it now that the original service location is gone? Will I have to pay because it is not in the original location?

A: Please contact our engineering team at 541-484-1151 and they will be happy to assist you. Installations will be evaluated per Lane Electric’s line extension policy.

Q: Does Lane Electric need to get permits to put in temporary service for an RV and for contractors?

A: Prior to the temporary service installation, the member or their electrician should obtain a permit from the government agency responsible for issuing permits in their area.

Q: I’m rebuilding my home, what do I need to know before I get started?

A: We have helpful resources located on our website for members beginning the rebuilding process. The first is a robust new construction guide that walks through each step members should take before any work can begin. The second is a complete Electric Service & Guidelines booklet that includes information on easements, overhead and underground service, service diagrams and more. Please consult both resources prior to contacting a Lane Electric representative.

Q: The power lines in my area need to be routed differently. Will there be consideration given to that since it needs to be rebuilt anyway? What can I do about that?

A: All installations will be evaluated by Lane Electric’s staking technicians and configured in accordance with industry best practices.

Q: Are there costs associated with digging a trench for underground service?

A: Members have two options for trenches.

1) Trenches located on the member’s property can be provided by the member. The low voltage service conductor trench should be provided by the consumer, from the pole or transformer pad to the meter location.

2) Lane Electric can provide the trench. Extra time and fees for the labor and required archeological study may apply. Please contact our engineering team at 541-484-1151 and they will be happy to assist you with more information.

General FAQ

Q: I need to access my property, but there is a wire down across my driveway that I’m told not to cross. How do I get the wire removed and when will that happen?

A: Please call the main office at 541-484-1151 and we will provide an estimated time.

Q: How does Lane Electric determine when to shut off power?

A: We do not take power shutoffs lightly and do so when there’s fire danger (temperature, relative humidity, wind) and physical threats to the safety of our communities.

Q: Is Lane Electric’s equipment responsible for causing the fire?

A: The cause of the fire is under investigation, and we are fully cooperating with federal and state authorities.  We are unaware that any of our assets contributed to the cause of the fire at this time.  A thorough investigation will take time and patience, and we want to respect the investigation and the process.  In the meantime, Lane Electric is focused on power restoration for our members and is engaged in rebuilding these great communities we serve.

Q: Are you considering upgrades to the power system as a part of the rebuild?

A: All options are on the table, and we plan to give each possibility the due diligence it deserves. FEMA hazard mitigation funds will be helpful in considering options that were not previously feasible.

Q: Why hasn’t Lane Electric undergrounded all their lines? 

A:  Undergrounding power lines is an expensive and time-consuming process, but Lane Electric is further along than many other rural utilities. More than half of our system is already underground, and we continue to bury more of it each year.

Q: Where can I get more information about current power outages?

A: Lane Electric’s ‘Outage Map & Status‘ page is a useful resource for up-to-date information about any ongoing large-scale power outages.

Q: What fees will I need to pay when disconnecting and eventually to rebuild?

A: All fees to disconnect, reconnect, and rebuild line extensions will be waived for those in the fire-damaged area.

For Media and Press Contacts: Call 541-484-1151 or send requests to laneelectric@quinnthomas.com.