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Wildfire victims to get help from our valley

Sam Thrasher, left, talks with Jennifer Epps about how to donate hay to the Taylor Bridge Fire victims. Thrasher lost her barn to fire last year and knows what its like to lose animal feed. "I want to bring some hay," she said. "I had a lot of hay given to me."

A horse-trailer loaded with supplies for the victims of the Taylor Bridge Fire burning outside Cle Elum will leave the Methow Valley about 8:30 a.m. Friday morning thanks to Jennifer Epps of Winthrop.

Epps said she and Shannon Fharnham will drive straight to the Kittitas County Fairgrounds in Ellensburg, where displaced and injured animals are being taken. Fharnham’s niece is working at the fairgrounds “which is how we know what they need.” Their second stop will be one of the emergency shelters for people who’ve been evacuated or lost everything.

Epps started gathering goods Wednesday. Thursday she was in the Hank’s Market parking lot in Twisp collecting supplies. Handwritten signs taped to the sides of her trailer made the plea for clothing, food, animal feed, stock watering buckets and whatever else anyone can spare.

Numerous bags of clothing and blankets were packed up this morning and donated by the Methow Valley Senior Center from its rummage room, according to Rosalie Hutson, who helped with the project. Epps had them loaded and ready to roll a short time later. 

“Toothpaste,” Epps said, is among the small things fire victims need. “I’m also taking cash donations,” she added, showing an envelope full of bills, including a couple of hundreds someone gave. Epps said she will use the cash to buy gift cards for burned out families so they can shop for necessities.

Epps can be reached at 509-322-3730. She said if she gathers more than she can handle in one load, she’ll make another trip. 

As of Thursday afternoon the Taylor Bridge Fire, which is burning southeast of Cle Elum and northwest of Ellensburg, was 25 percent contained. There are 800 firefighters on the job. InciWeb, the fire Incident Information Center, was reporting that 400 people have been evacuated and 60 primary residences have been destroyed. The fire has consumed about 22,656 acres of grass, brush and timber.



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Thank you everyone for all of your generous donations. The Methow should be proud!
Friday morning, on the way down to Wenatchee to pick up more donations (where would we put them?!), we got a call from Lise McGowan in Ellensburg, who requested that we take our entire load to Cle Elum. Somewhere over the top of Blewett Pass, my pickup started making some nasty noises. We were able to limp into Cle Elum and get everything unloaded at their warehouse. We were by far the biggest load (and one of the farthest travelled). The very nice mechanic at Reliable Auto Service in Cle Elum listened to the truck and suggested that it should NOT be driven anywhere. Ugh. He kindly offered us to park the trailer at his place, and then helped me find phone numbers of a diesel mechanic - unfortunately, NO ONE in Cle Elum works on diesels! AAA towed me to Ellensburg Chevrolet, where the service manager stayed late to meet me. Shannon Fharnham's niece, Olivia drove us to Wenatchee, where Leslie Young drove down to meet us and get us home late last night.

So... I will not be able to make another trip.
Who's next?

Jennifer Epps