Doug Dunbar

Bird carvingMCKENZIE BRIDGE: Once again, the staff of the McKenzie River Ranger District will be raising funds for a scholarship fund honoring fallen firefighters. Doug Dunbar and 13 other crew members were killed in a tragic fire in Colorado 21 years ago. Doug was a McKenzie High School graduate and the son of Sandy Dunbar and former McKenzie District Ranger, Randy Dunbar.
The scholarship is awarded each year to a college bound senior at the McKenzie High. Doug was fighting fires to help pay his way through college.






South Canyon Fire, July 1994

Doug Dunbar
Do you remember a bright-eyed young man who played basketball and the saxophone for McKenzie High School, loved to ski, and cherished friends and family? The employees at McKenzie River Ranger District do. And every year they raise funds for the scholarship named in his honor – the Doug Dunbar Scholarship.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the South Canyon Fire near Glenwood Springs, Colorado and the day 22-year-old Doug was lost. On July 6, 1994, a dry cold front moved into the fire area, generating erratic winds and intense fire activity. The winds pushed the fire toward firefighters, overtaking them in seconds. While 35 fire fighters were able to escape and survive, 14 did not. Firefighters lost included members of the Prineville Inter-agency Hotshots, the Missoula Smoke Jumpers and a Helitack fire crew. Doug was working at the time for the Prineville crew, helping finance his schooling. He had started his firefighting career near his hometown, on the then Blue River Ranger District.
Following the tragedy, the McKenzie River Ranger District employees chose to honor his memory by establishing a scholarship at the McKenzie River High School. Doug had been active at his school; he was an honor student, all-star baseball player, and  award-winning  saxophonist. Every year since 1995, this scholarship has helped another active local high school student attend college.

McKenzie River Reflections is the weekly newspaper serving Oregon's McKenzie River Valley. Available by mail for $23/yr in Lane County, $29/yr outside Lane. Digital subscriptions are $23/yr. Subscribe at: Purchase copies online at: Read about area communities including Cedar Flat, Walterville, Camp Creek, Leaburg, Vida, Nimrod, Finn Rock, Blue River, Rainbow and McKenzie Bridge.