LAKE STEVENS — Vivianne and Solomon Scofield plan to load up their pick-up truck Friday evening and drive toward family and friends in central Washington who are separated by road closures, detours and wildfires.
The Lake Stevens couple is gathering supplies to help people in communities where fires have destroyed at least 100 homes and threatened 1,100 more. The Carlton Complex of fires, reportedly ignited by lightning July 14, has scorched more than 250,000 acres, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center.
“All levels of evacuations are still in place and continuing to expand as the fire burns into and through numerous communities,” the coordination center reported Wednesday.
The Scofields have family in Pateros and Riverside, two towns hit hard by the blazes.
“We decided last night that one of the roads has to be open by Friday,” Vivianne said. “So no matter how long it takes, we’ll get there.”
They learned earlier this week that Solomon’s aunt and uncle lost their house to flames near Alta Lake, as did a family friend who lived nearby.
In Pateros, Solomon’s father has seen neighbors’ houses burn and is not sure if his home will stay standing.
Vivianne’s father and sister had to leave their home in Riverside for two days due to thick smoke, she said. It was getting difficult to breathe.
Her father takes care of his fiance and another woman, both of whom are disabled, so evacuating is particularly difficult for the family. They were back home Tuesday, living hour to hour and waiting for another evacuation notice.
The family has been relying on Facebook and occasional phone calls to keep each other updated, but service is spotty and communication is hard, Vivianne said.
“They’ve all kind of been through (fires) before,” she said. “No one was really shocked at first. It’s eastern Washington. Fires happen.”
But the speed and intensity of these wildfires took them by surprise, she said. Friends and family told her they had less than 15 minutes to evacuate as winds sent flames and smoke their way.
Evacuees are living in hotels or staying with friends, Vivianne said. Both power and phone service have been “touch and go.”
People need water, blankets, flashlights and batteries, and grilling supplies such as charcoal or propane so they can cook meals.
Anyone interested in dropping off supplies for the Scofields to haul over to Pateros and Riverside can bring them to Travis Industries, 12521 Harbour Reach Dr., in Mukilteo between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Thursday or Friday.
Travis Industries, where Vivianne works, has contributed supplies as well as the donation space.
Vivianne and Solomon plan to visit family and friends first, then drop off supplies for anyone else in the area who needs them.
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439, firstname.lastname@example.org