Helping our Neighbors: Okanogan Fire Needs

If you want to help those affected by the Okanogan Complex fire, firefighters and/or locals, here is information on what is needed and who to contact, from Craig Nelson of the Okanogan Conservation District. Please share this so that we can help our neighbors to the east as much as possible!


I know there are many communities in need due to fires, but because I’ve been asked by many what folks need up this direction I thought I would pass along to all of you what we are seeing.

First, we do NOT need clothing and material like that. Our shelters and relief centers are overflowing with clothes, toys, and household goods. We have lost another 40-50 homes and those people have already picked up a good deal of these needed supplies. Furthermore, our firefighters are drowning in bottled water and Gatorade. They DEEPLY appreciate the love in that regard, but they won’t be able to drink all they have in the next two months.

Here is what we need by category:


  • Leather gloves
  • Socks
  • Boot laces
  • Hygiene supplies
  • Thank you notes and well wishes

Individual Landowners

Support organizations need cash donations to meet individual needs for families directly impacted by the fire over the next few months. There are two organizations that I personally highly recommend and they are both local and 501 c(3) ready to take donations. Okanogan County Community Action Council have busted their tails in close partnership with us to help people last year and we are already working together again. They have provided vouchers for hotels, fuel, food, replaced lost and damaged items from clothing to tires. 

The other group is the Community Foundation of North Central Washington. I recently joined this board (with all my spare time) and they are the primary fiscal sponsor for the Okanogan County Long Term Recovery Group that got their start with the Carlton Complex and are now expanding to include our new disaster area. Funding either group puts dollars in the hands of local disaster case managers and social workers to help people with their highest needs.

  • Okanogan County Community Action Council has a Paypal link on their web-site, or you can mail a check to OCCAC, PO Box 1067, Okanogan, WA 98840
  • Community Foundation of North Central Washington has a donation button on their web-site, or you can mail a check to CFNCW, 9 S. Wenatchee Ave, Wenatchee, WA 98801

Ranchers and Farmers

These folks will need support for fencing and water troughs in the coming months and years, but right now they need forage for their animals. 
Hay donations are being coordinated by a local rancher named Shauna Beeman. She is has a request list for 30 semi truck loads of hay needed due to lost forage. Our county lost a lot of grazing and pasture lands last year and the ranchers impacted by that were moved to less desirable but the only remaining grazing lands in the county. Many of those lands have burned, but the sad fact is there are no more available pastures and range areas for these livestock so many more producers are now having to feed livestock months earlier than usual and will have to feed them far longer than usual next year or face the decision to decrease heard size or shipping cows far away. 

If you know someone who can donate hay they can call Shauna at (509) 760-5825 to arrange for trucks to come pick the hay up or she can tell you where you can have the hay brought and they will get it distributed equitably. Or you can donate to their donation page at….

On behalf of a tired but very proud county, I thank you and your friends and family for what help you can provide.

Craig T. Nelson
District Manager
Okanogan Conservation District