Fire Evacuees Find Help With Donation Centers, Shelters
The Okanogan County Sheriff’s Department ordered more homeowners to evacuate Monday afternoon. These newest evacuations came after firefighters saw a brief relief from high winds and hot weather Sunday.
Donations are coming in by the truckload to the Pateros High School in Central Washington. Piles of clothes hip-deep fill the gym. Stacks of food, water and pet food line the hallways.
Volunteers say they are not turning away anything.
Manthy Salcido, who is heading up the volunteers, said, “We right now are running out of toilet paper. Okay? This morning it looked like a year’s supply. It’s not enough.”
Salcido isn’t just a volunteer. She’s also a victim. She lost her own home in the wildfire that burned through Pateros on Thursday night. Right now she’s staying with friends in a travel trailer in her church’s parking lot.
She’s reluctant to talk about her own predicament. Instead, she says she’s here to help others.
“We’re trying to fill the needs of the people that come through here," Salcido said. "Great or small – from dry beans to hay for horses.”
So far the fire has displaced about 150 people. The Red Cross has set up four shelters in the region.
Pam Fox, a volunteering at the center in Chelan, Washington, said about 100 people stayed the first night evacuations took place late last week. But those numbers have gone down dramatically as many have been able to return home or are staying with family.
Some of them, like Salcido, are camping. For many, the situation is especially difficult, as they still have to go to work.
In the meantime, fire crews worry that the next few days could bring more lightning strikes to the area. And shelters are preparing for more evacuations as the potential for more fires continues.