Officials fear ‘second disaster’ as wildfire donations pile up
While cash donations for victims of this summer’s biggest wildfire are still welcome, officials need to stop donations of goods.
The Associated Press
Cash donations still welcome
Here’s where to donate cash to the fire relief effort:
• The Apple Valley Chapter of the Red Cross, 12 Orondo Ave., Wenatchee, WA 98801 Info: 509-663-3907.
• The Community Foundation of North Central Washington Fire Relief Fund. Donate on its website at cfncw.org, or by sending a check to 9 S. Wenatchee Ave., Wenatchee, WA 98801 Info: 509-663-7716.
• GiveNaked.org has collaborated with Chelan Valley Hope to establish a fund online; people can donate $5 or more by visiting givenaked.org.
• Many banks have also established funds, including North Cascades Bank (509-888-6000) and Washington Federal (509-662-5463). All branches are participating.
• Community Glass of Wenatchee (509-662-8039) also established a fund at Cashmere Valley Bank and will match donations to $5,000. Just request the “Community Glass Fire Benefit” at any Cashmere Valley branch.
The Wenatchee World
PATEROS, Okanogan County — After the largest wildfire in Washington’s history destroyed hundreds of homes and burned hundreds of square miles in North Central Washington, donations poured in.
Officials are thankful for the gifts, but they’re now pleading with the public to stop donating goods and asking them to donate money instead. They have enough, perhaps too much stuff.
“I think donations might very well be a second disaster,” Jennifer Dolge, director of donor services and communications for the Community Foundation of North Central Washington, told The Wenatchee World. “There’s just so much stuff, and now they have to figure out what to do with it all.”
Donations for the Carlton complex fire now fill up three warehouses, two gymnasiums, community distribution centers and several semi-trucks that have not been unloaded. Tens of thousands of diapers, truckloads of dog food and pallets of water came in the days after the fire destroyed homes in Pateros and the Methow Valley.
Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers urged people to donate money, not items.
On Tuesday, Rogers said an army of volunteers and emergency workers worked from sunrise to late into the afternoon, moving donated items from the National Guard Armory in Okanogan to a larger warehouse at the Fairgrounds. From there, they will go to the old Pateros grocery store, which will serve as a long-term solution for providing supplies to fire victims, thanks to the generosity of a donor, Rogers said.
“I’ve got a full detachment of the National Guard, as well as volunteers, public-works employees; they started at 7 a.m. and they’re still going,” he said. “It’s the same story everywhere — we don’t need more goods.”
The donations are getting to fire victims, Rogers said. People have been coming in to the donation centers to pick up clothing, bedding, nonperishable food, toiletries and other necessities. Volunteers, the National Guard and other organizations have also been taking items by the truckload out into communities and neighborhoods affected by fires to make sure people have what they need to get by.
Meanwhile, more than 3,000 firefighting crews continue to fight the 392-square-mile fire. As of Wednesday, the Carlton complex fire was 67 percent contained. Even though temperatures reached the triple digits, fire crews have been able to stop the fire from threatening more homes.