Five months after the devastating Holiday Farm fire, the Upper McKenzie Fire District Chief announced she’ll take a leave of absence. The 30-year fire-fighting veteran will focus on her mental health.
Christiana Rainbow Plews, known as Chief Rainbow, said she can no longer let the trauma go unchecked. She fought more than two days straight on the historic fire, evacuated residents and witnessed the destruction of houses and landmarks. Plews and her family also lost their own homes.
“The best thing for my health right now is to step away and prioritize my mental health and my physical well-being as the most important thing that needs attention right now,” she said.
Chief Rainbow is treating her diagnosed severe cumulative Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She said she has the support of her Board of Directors and volunteer fire crew. During the paid sabbatical, Dirk Rogers will fill her boots as acting-Chief of the Upper McKenzie Fire Protection District.