Local Disaster Medicine Project helps Methow Valley wildfire rescues

Rich Campbell, MD of Snohomish County Fire District 1 and Erica White, ARNP of Three Rivers Hospital lead their medical team in the MASH-style emergency room set up in Twisp during the wildfire.
Rich Campbell, MD, of Snohomish County Fire District 1 and Erica White, ARNP of Three Rivers Hospital lead the medical team in Twisp during the wildfire.

Snohomish County Fire District 1 Disaster Medicine Project sent notice about recent wildfire rescue efforts:

When wildfire struck the Methow Valley at the height of the tourist season and cut access to emergency medical facilities, the area’s largely volunteer ambulance and rescue services rose to the challenge. Aero Methow, Three Rivers Hospital, and Disaster Medicine Project set up a MASH-style medical center.

“We had an ER physician, a nurse practitioner and several paramedics and EMT’s treating everything from minor wounds and illnesses to severe trauma,” said Cindy Button, Aero Methow Rescue Service Director of Services. “The sickest patients were flown to out-of-area hospitals by Northwest MedStar and Airlift Northwest.”

According to Button, “The staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly to meet the needs of the community. The workload and demand on our personnel, equipment and supplies has exceeded the normal expected and planned volume.” Fire-related emergencies, normal tourist activity and a rhythm and blues festival, which attracted thousands to the hills above Twisp and Winthrop, created unsafe travel conditions on Aero Methow roads.

The MASH-style emergency room closed earlier in the week, but the increase for services continues to drain resources for the ambulance service. In addition to extra hours serving the community, some paramedics and EMTs are dealing with their own losses and close calls caused by the fire. To help support Aero Methow Rescue Service you may donate to the Aero Methow Rescue Service Fire Support Fund at any North Cascades Bank Branch, Farmers State Bank, or at the website. For more information.on Snohomish County Fire District emergency services, follow Disaster Medicine Project on Twitter.


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