We all knew it was coming, but when the telltale haze and campfire smell finally made its way to Spokane last weekend, there was no more avoiding the reality that fire season is here.
As the Williams Flats fire burned this week on the Colville Indian Reservation, its smoke thwarted our plans and threatened our health. Coupled with the near-triple-digit temperatures this week, the smoke created unhealthy air that forced people across our region to limit outdoor activity.
But as irritating as the smoke can be to our schedules and lungs in Spokane, it’s nothing compared to the devastation the fire creates for those directly in its path. As residents evacuate, they leave behind homes and livelihoods, unsure if they will be there when they return.
Help is One Phone Call Away
As wildfires have become a late-summer fixture and pose an increasing threat, Catholic Charities has developed a strong response system for fires within our 13-county service area. Through our Parish Social Ministry program, our Disaster Relief services offer help for people affected by wildfire and other disasters.
Disaster Relief comes alongside communities affected by fires, floods and other catastrophes. We bring emergency supplies to affected communities within 24 hours after we receive a call for help to provide water, food, diapers and other resources.
Catholic Charities remains on the scene after the fire dies, news coverage ends and attention shifts away. The Disaster Relief program coordinates disaster-related donations and requests for help from households to make sure those affected get the help they need to rebuild. We respond to requests for help with a wide array of items, from construction materials and RV batteries to beds and utility bills.
Resources and Assistance Are Available
If you have been affected by a disaster and need help, contact Catholic Charities at (509) 456-2253.
If you are affected by wildfire smoke, here is some information to help:
Plan your activity based on the air quality level at the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency.
Minimize your exposure with these tips from the Spokane Regional Health District.
Catholic Charities is praying for those affected by the fires, and stands ready to assist.