In July 2014, lightning caused several wildfires in Okanogan County that grew together into one major inferno. The fires burned 300 homes and scorched 400 square miles of land. Homes in Pateros and Malott were burned and Brewster and other towns were threatened. Called the Carlton Complex Fire, this was the largest wildfire in the state’s recorded history.
Pateros is a small town in Okanogan County, situated beside the scenic Columbia River in north-central Washington. Pateros has a population of around 700 people. Mining and railroad work created growth in the 1800s, but now agriculture and forestry generate the major employment opportunities in the area, especially growing and packing fruit.
MDS was invited by the Carlton Complex Long Term Recovery Committee to help rebuild homes destroyed by the fire. During the summer of 2015 the MDS Washington Unit, with collaboration from the surrounding Units, finished two homes which had been framed and dried by other volunteers. MDS continues with longer term rebuilding projects including new builds. Work includes a full range of construction services, including framing, drywalling, mudding, and painting.
MDS works closely with the community in Pateros and greater Washington. The mayor has visited the site, and the Long Term Recovery Committee checks in with the team often. MDS binational supports the work continuing to be done at this project as people in the community are living in RVs on their property until they can return to a home.