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Fire Storm – One Year Later

Part 3 of 3

It has now been one year since the Carlton Complex Fire (2014) swept across Okanagan County in Eastern Washington. The after math is still physically visible on the county side and its impacts on neighbors still fresh in their minds. Destroyed homes are in the process of being rebuilt, at least the ones that were insured. The grass is growing back and starting to cover the scared ground. Building lots stand empty where once stood a home and some lots sit silent as if it was the day after the fire.

The State Park at Alta Lake is once again filled with campers enjoying the weather and outdoors. Some of the campers however now camp in sites where trees and underbrush once covered the Park. The Park has made a concerted effort to jump start the restoration by planting new trees and removing burned trees and downfall. It is evident the Park is well into its renewal.

The City of Pateros is returning to normal and was filled to capacity at the July Apple Pie Jamboree. It was difficult to find a parking space as people filled the park area for food, fun, and entertainment. There are still many homes in the city that are missing and there is no doubt many individuals are still suffering the loss.

The Carlton Complex Fire is a disaster that is beyond comprehension and will never be forgotten by those that experienced it.

As I was in the process of writing Part 3 of Fire Storm – One Year Later, I was interrupted by news that a Pacific Northwest Storm struck Eastern Washington leaving lightning generated spot fires in its wake. Unfortunately those spot fires grew into large Complex fires that spread across Eastern Washington and they are still burning into September (2015). The State Park at Alta Lake has been converted into a very large fire camp that supports the firefighting efforts. We are now into the biggest fire season in Washington State history (second year in a row).

Although we have been very fortunate in that the fires burned around my community at Alta Lake I know that many others were again impacted with tragedy. This year we lost three firefighters who were working in the Twisp area. Please take a moment to think about their service and their families.