Darrington firefighters, volunteers ‘paying it forward’ to wildfire victims

DARRINGTON — As wildfires scorched communities east of the Cascade Range this week, Darrington’s volunteer firefighters thought about ways to help.

By Saturday, a dozen members of Fire District 24 were in action. They packed a 24-foot horse trailer with donated supplies left over from the March 22 Oso mudslide.

It was the least they could do to return the generosity strangers had showered on their community not long ago, said Randy Dobbins, the Darrington district’s operations officer. It was their way of “paying it forward,” he said.

“We’re so grateful for the people who showed us support,” Dobbins said. “We have some extra stuff from the slide, supplies that were donated. We’ve gathered up some of that in a truck and trailer.”

Three Darrington volunteers drove the load over the mountains to the hard-hit community of Pateros, north of Chelan. They’re hoping it goes to people who lost homes.

As of Saturday morning, the lightning-caused fire had scorched 336 square miles in the scenic Methow Valley and destroyed about 100 homes. Erratic winds were complicating efforts to fight the blaze.

Officials reported no serious injuries.

Once in Pateros, the Darrington volunteers planned to connect with local firefighters so they can send the supplies where they’re needed most.

The load includes a pallet of bottled water, buckets and boots, shirts, socks, shovels and more.

“We grabbed everything we thought would be useful to people over there,” Dobbins said.

The district still has more donated items in storage from the Oso mudslide, he said. They plan to use them to stock a trailer they can deploy to fires and other disasters.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

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