Carlene Anders, Rosalee Mohney and Marilyn Hoff tour the Okanogan County area to view how much damage was done after the Washington Wildfires.

A view from a fence line in Pateros, Wash., an area heavily affected by Washington Wildfires. Currently, there is a demand for teams to repair broken fences to protect cattle. Contact Rosalee Mohney for more information,

“The high school fencing crew was phenomenal. (We) did 4.5 miles and was able to move cows Saturday. I’m happy for the help.”

-From a client and resident

Not only do we have needs in the hundreds of thousand for miles for cattle fencing to maintain our cattle economy in the valley, we also need horse corral, goat, hog and deer fencing for other farming needs.

Special thanks to Jessica Martin, a Disaster Case Manager for the Okanogan County Long Term Recovery Group.

By Rosalee Mohney | Photos by Andy O’Donnell

Let’s Go Help Some People!

You may have seen or heard this phrase several times during the past year. It has become a rallying cry for The Pacific Northwest Conference as we continue our support of the Rebuild: Up from the Ashes project following the wildfires of 2014 and 2015 in the Okanogan area of Washington State. The powerful phrase originated with Jim Truitt, the UMVIM Early Response Teams Coordinator.

An array of scorched trees from the Washington Wildfires line a highway.

The PNW Conference has responded to the Rebuild appeal to help build homes for the survivors of the wildfires with donations of money and hundreds of United Methodists have volunteered time and skills. It is to be celebrated that during 2016, over 240 volunteers volunteered their time to the Rebuild. The volunteers came from every corner of The PNW Conference plus several places in the Western Jurisdiction – all coming together to help individuals or families have a home once again. These volunteers represented 20 churches and several churches supported more than one team. Other faith-based groups volunteered as well – it is an ecumenical project and all were there to Help Some People!

About 30 homes have been funded and built or are under construction. As the next phase of the home rebuilding plan moves forward, volunteer teams continue to be needed for this important work. Donations of money are essential! United Methodist Churches across the Conference are being asked to reach out to their members and others in their communities to help restore the hope and stability to those who are still without a home. Rebuild plans are in place; there are people needing a home; it is up to us as United Methodists to step up to the plate and help. In this time of Easter and the rebirth of spring, let us help give those who have survived so much, the opportunity of rebirth, also.

There are other ways that volunteers can help with the Recovery Effort. Two areas of special needs are fencing and landscaping. The wildfires burned approximately 1,000 miles of fencing. Why is fencing so critical? The Okanogan Country is home to cattle-ranches. Fences are needed to help protect pasture land and keep cattle within specific grazing areas, for example. One cattle rancher reported that about 300 miles of fencing was damaged on his property. Fencing is a very real aspect of the livelihood of a cattle rancher and his family.

Another more specialized area needing volunteers is landscaping around a new home. However, this is more than creating a yard with shrubbery. This is helping to design the space around a home making it more defensible from the threat of a wildfire. It is important these new homes incorporate new techniques to accomplish this as many of these homes are off the grid and not within an easy reach of fire trucks! Let’s help someone have a safer home!

For additional information or an inquiry about how to volunteer, contact Rosalee Mohney, Wildfires UMVIM Coordinator, at 206-870-1456 or Donations can be designated for the Rebuild by using Advance Number #352. Send your gift through your local church or directly to the Treasurer’s Office, PNWUMC, P.O. Box 13650, Des Moines, WA 98198.

Let’s Go Help Some People! 

Rosalee Mohney serves as the UMVIM Coordinator for Wildfires and Co-Lay Leader for the Seattle District.

Leave a Reply