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Volunteers from across the U.S. help Carlton Complex wildfire area rebuild
Concrete and metal hauled away, fences replaced, trees planted, 100,000 pounds of clothing bagged for resale
By: Carlton Complex Long Term Recovery Group
The 56 members, family, and friends of the Dawn Patrol—named for their tradition of meeting weekly around the campfire for an hour at dawn—along with three dump-truck/excavator pairs—divided themselves into nine teams. The three heavy equipment crews spent the week mostly cleaning up building sites by removing the destroyed foundations, and hauling concrete and burnt metal to other locations for recycling, said Kathy Power, volunteer coordinator for the Carlton Complex Long Term Recovery Group (CCLTRG). One team with the help of a small backhoe did flood restoration work in the lower Methow and up in the Benson Creek areas.
“At $300/hour for an excavator/ dump truck pair, three teams working 10-hour days Monday through Friday, made a $45,000 in kind contribution right there,” Power said. “One of the teams stayed on to finish our last priority cleanup on Saturday, working another six hours, worth an additional $1,800.”
Other members of the Dawn Patrol were deployed at Alta Lake State Park, where three tree-planting teams did clean-up and planted 89 large trees. A seventh team bundled plants for the Okanogan Conservation District’s plant distribution to fire survivors on Saturday, April 11, in Okanogan. An eighth team repaired fencing just south of the town of Methow, while a ninth team spent the week removing rocks and boulders—flood debris—from fields in the lower Methow and Benson Creek.
“We had 18 men and woman here Monday through Friday, putting in 10-hour days—another huge monetary savings in labor and efforts for the fire survivors. In dollar terms, their work could be valued at $18,000. However in my opinion all of the wonderful assistance these amazing volunteers did to assist in the recovery and rebuilding efforts is priceless!” Power said.
The Dawn Patrol also included 20 adults and 16 children who worked Monday through Wednesday. Valued at the “unskilled”
An Amish family from Montana, consisting of a father and his five sons, donated four days of fence-building on properties in Pateros and Chiliwist—a total of 240 man-hours. “This is the third time these groups have come to our assistance, this time alone their time and efforts can be valued at $4,800 in donated very skilled and knowledgeable fencing team labor and additional values in the equipment/machinery they bring ,” Power said.
Nine Americorps volunteers—the Silver Team, hailing from Wisconsin, New Jersey, Virginia, Florida, and elsewhere—assisted the other volunteers in moving debris and planting trees at Alta Lake State Park. They also completed two days of fence-building on McFarland Creek and helped at the Relief Distribution Center in Pateros, where some 100,000 pounds of donated clothing were bagged for resale, netting $20,000 for the Carlton Complex home rebuilding effort. All told, they donated 360 hours valued at $5,400.
Including the clothing sale, the total raised for the reconstruction effort has climbed to $695,000 of the $4,282,550 necessary to rebuild 40 homes and fund the Disaster Case Managers through 2016.
“We’re definitely gaining momentum,” said Carlene Anders, executive director of the Carlton Complex Long Term Recovery Group. “The volunteers—and their heavy equipment—are paving the way for our first home reconstructions, which will begin in the next few weeks. We’re now ready to lay septic fields and pour foundations.
“Our fundraising efforts are also picking up steam. We’ve now got the ability to accept donations by credit card on our website: www.Carlton Complex Recovery.com. We’re so grateful to everyone who has stepped up to help us. You’re our ‘Second Responders’—and just as important as those who respond immediately.”