A Meditation on the Methow’s Fiery History

Smoke fills the Methow ValleyThe Methow Valley has seen its share of fire seasons. Many of us remember the summers of 2014 and 2015, or even 2000 and 2001. Whether it’s Thirty Mile, or the Carlton Complex, or today—the Cub Creek and Mazama-Varden fires, fire has shaped on our collective memory. But this summer, on the heels of Covid-19, most of us were hoping for a break.

Are we panicking? Not really. Over the past few weeks, most residents and business owners seem resigned. They pack their to-go bags, they check on their neighbors. They move into the spare bedroom with their dogs and cats. Whether you are new to the Valley or have lived here for decades, when fire hits, you’re part of this community. That’s one of the things that defines our Valley—helping out when things get tough. Today, nearly half of our homes have been evacuated or threatened. Many residents are in Seattle or elsewhere. Tourists know to stay away. And while many are blessed with remote jobs, retired or otherwise, we know those businesses dependent on tourism and their employees are affected the most. Today, Winthrop resembles a ghost town, and the few businesses who manage to stay open are doing so at a loss.

At TwispWorks, we launched the Small Business Emergency Grant to address the immediate impacts of Covid-19 on small businesses. Today, we are relaunching that program to address businesses impacted by fire. The Small Business Emergency Grants gives Methow Valley businesses grants between $1500-$5,000 to keep their doors open and continue serving the community. Please consider donating to THIS FUND, and if you’re in the Valley these days—remember to shop local. Interested businesses may apply for an emergency grant HERE. As we face another four weeks of summer and possibly months of fire, we need to remember that we’re all in this together.

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Written by Julie Tate-Libby