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During 2020’s Labor Day Fires, Commissioner Buch worked tirelessly with state and local government partners to keep East Lane County residents apprised of rapidly changing conditions. In the wake of the devastating fires, she secured $27.5 million from the Oregon Legislature and ensured the McKenzie region received critical CARES Act and American Rescue Plan funding to rebuild what was lost in communities like Blue River. 

Lane County's response to the fires has included successes like:

  • Sheltering hundreds of survivors in temporary housing and local hotels

  • Waiving and reimbursing over $1 million in residential and commercial permit fees

  • Clearing hazard trees and over 45,000 tons of ash and debris

  • Installing 300 erosion control structures

  • Bringing 210,000 native plants back to burned riparian zones

  • Hosting more than 20 Facebook Live recovery updates, 7 public forums, and sending 49 McKenzie Rebuilds email newsletters to keep residents up to date on the resources available to help them

To prepare for future disasters, Heather Buch is focused on improving the County’s electronic alert systems and adding additional fire alert cameras in our forests through a partnership with the University of Oregon.

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