Wildfire Preparation, Recovery & Restoration Information
Updated August 9, 2017

Over the past few years, our community has become intimately aware of the inevitability of wildfire in fire-adapted ecosystems such as ours.  Through teamwork and partnerships, our community has been working towards recovery from the 2014 Carlton Complex Fire, 2015 Twisp River/Okanogan Complex Fire, and more recent fires; and we have been educating ourselves on the importance of fire preparedness and how to become a community that is “fire-adapted”.

The sections below provide resources and information regarding fire preparedness, access to information during a wildfire, and short and long-term recovery following wildfire. We will update this resource page with information and news over the coming months. Please see the links above or scroll down for detailed information on each topic. Feel free to let us know what other resources you hope to see from us by emailing info@methowconservancy.org or by calling 509-996-2870.

Fire Preparedness

  • Get an official 911 address sign to help firefighters and other emergency services find you. Get an official 911 address sign. Help emergency services find you.

  • Learn what you can do to prepare on the Methow Ready website. 

  • Make your home and property more Firewise. Creating defensible space, preparing your home for wildfire, and planning your landscape can go a long way to reduce your home ignition risk.

Accessing Information During a Fire

Websites, Facebook pages & radio stations that provide daily information during an active fire include the following:

Short Term Recovery

First, please know our thoughts are with you and we hope to stand with you as you journey through the recovery process. Your property is unique and its habitat type and the severity of the burn will affect the eventual recovery of the vegetation on it. Our staff are available to visit your property for an initial assessment of the potential damage and then share resources that will help you in the restoration of your property. Please call us at 509-996-2870 or email info@methowconservancy.org to schedule a free visit.

    Land Rehabilitation

    • What to do with burned materials and debris and returning to your home after fire: The Okanogan County Public Health Department has issued these important fact sheets for cleaning-up. These handouts mention the Carlton Complex, but are true of other fires.
    • Betsy Cushman of Methow Recycles can consult with you regarding what to do with your burned materials and debris.  Specifically, she can tell you what you can recycle, what can be safely buried, and what should be hauled away as waste.  Betsy can be reached at 509-996-2696.  Note that Methow Recycles has teamed up with Cascade Concrete and local contractors to give property owners an opportunity to recycle metal debris (roofing, appliances, farm equipment, vehicles, etc.). These handouts mention the Carlton Complex, but are still true for this fire. See this link for more details: Fire Recovery Metal Recycling

    • Our native habitats are adapted to fire and in most circumstances will recover quickly without intervention. This two-page Restoration Handout outlines basic strategies for rehabilitating the types of places that will need help. 

    • Restoring firelines is a major post-fire task. See this one-page "Fireline Rehabilitation Strategies" fact sheet for info and tips.  Note that seeding should not been done until fall.

    • The seed mixes we recommended for erosion and weed control are from BFI Seeds and Rob Crandall of Methow Natives. Click here for the BFI mixes. Rob Crandall can be reached at methownatives@methownet.com. Note that any seeding should not been done until fall.

    • The Okanogan Conservation District (OCD) has a very useful webpage with numerous resources for landowners that have experienced fire activity on their property. Go to http://www.okanogancd.org Please note that in some cases, our seeding recommendations are different than what is listed on this website. Seeding is site specific and we are happy to do a free site visit to give you our seeding recommendations.

    • The Washington Department of Natural Resources also has staff available to provide technical expertise related specifically to tree damage, merchantability, and recovery actions. Click here for an informative article about dead trees from local DNR staff Ken Bevis (a fire victim himself). Steve Harris (DNR) at 509-684-7474 can evaluate hazard trees.

    • If you are a rancher whose grazing land has been affected by wildfire, you may be eligible for assistance through the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP).

Long Term Recovery

In the 3 years since the Carlton Complex fires raced across much of the Methow Valley, our community has seen countless individuals and organizations helping people transition from crisis to recovery. One of the primary things the Methow Conservancy has been doing to aid in recovery is offer individualized landowner site visits, and ecological, natural resource and agricultural assistance and resources to landowners impacted by the fires and flooding. The Methow Conservancy has also been a constructive participant in the collaborative effort known as Methow Valley Long Term Recovery.

One of the lessons learned from natural disasters around the country is that the success of a community recovering from a disaster depends less upon the type and scale of the disaster itself, and more upon the ability of a community to prepare in advance of a disaster, and then come together early in the disaster to coordinate, both to the initial response and to the longer-term recovery process. It’s clear that a cohesive, collaborative effort involving a wide range of non-profit, governmental, business, and faith-based organizations will ensure that a community emerges stronger and more prepared for future events. That is the goal of Methow Valley Long Term Recovery and its Methow Ready program.

Methow Conservancy Executive Director Jason Paulsen has served as President of Methow Valley Long Term Recovery since its formation in 2014 in the wake of the Carlton Complex Fires. Jason will continue to work to ensure that both land restoration and agricultural issues are understood and incorporated into the vast recovery process that includes individual assistance, short-term housing and sustainable rebuilding, infrastructure development, business recovery, and future disaster preparedness. “I continue in this effort in the wake of our most recent fires believing that our Methow Valley community will one day serve as a model for other communities with respect to how we help one another ensure that all sectors of our community, and the families affected, not only recover, but emerge from this effort with greater strength and resiliency”, said Jason.

Methow Valley Long Term Recovery continues to collaborate with the County-wide Long Term Recovery organization as well as other community-based long term recovery organizations. You can read about the work accomplished by Methow Valley Long Term Recovery in this Methow Valley News article.

Please feel free to contact us here at the Methow Conservancy if you have specific questions we can help to answer. 

315 Riverside Avenue / PO Box 71    Winthrop, WA 98862     509.996.2870