Spokane County Fires: Resources, Donations, Grants

Stay informed!  Much of Washington state is under a red flag warning for fire danger. Find your county here and sign up for fire alerts.


9/15/23 Update: In response to the devastation caused by recent wildfires near Spokane, WFSE’s Executive Board voted overwhelmingly to contribute $200,000 to the Foundation for Working Families, a disaster relief fund where 100% of donations go to union members in need. WFSE created the fund in 2007 in response to major flooding in Chehalis, and it is now administered by the Washington State Labor Council and benefits all union members in Washington.

WFSE’s Executive Board also voted overwhelmingly to donate $25,000 to AFSCME’s Fallen Heroes Fund, which will go toward helping WFSE members here in Washington, but also AFSCME members in Maui, California and elsewhere. 


On August 18, the fast-moving Gray Fire broke out next to Lakeland Village, a residential habilitation center that is home to 200 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and 500 WFSE members. 

Spurred by 30 mph winds, the fire spread throughout the facility, forcing WFSE members to evacuate residents multiple times on foot.

WFSE members first evacuated residents to a building called Pine Lodge, only to be forced to re-evacuate them when the flames overtook that building. Sorrounded by smoke and fire, our members pushed some residents in their wheelchairs over a mile to relative safety at Eastern State Hospital, a 375-bed psychiatric facility where close to 600 WFSE members work.

As the night wore on, exhausted Lakeland Village staff did not want to leave the residents who had been in their care even when relief showed up. 

Meanwhile, the fire burned throughout the community of Medical Lake where many WFSE members live, growing from 500 acres on Friday afternoon to 10,000 acres at 12 pm on Saturday, when Spokane County declared a state of emergency. 

Another fire near Elk in Spokane County is also burning, threating hundreds of buildings and homes.

As of this writing, all staff and residents of both Lakeland Village and Eastern State Hospital are safe and accounted for. 

Need Assistance?

If you have been impacted by the fires:

  • If you need assistance or guidance, contact WFSE's Member Connection Center at [email protected] or 833-622-9373. 

If you are a WFSE member who has been financially impacted by the fires:

  • Apply for assistance from the Foundation for Working Families disaster relief fund ($1000 - $5000), which is administered by the Washington State Labor Council. Apply for relief directly online here.

  • AFSCME has confirmed that they will activate the AFSCME Fallen Heroes Fund for this disaster. The fund The AFSCME Fallen Heroes Fund provides relief and immediate assistance to members who fall victim to natural disasters and other tragedies. We will provide information about applying to the fund as soon as we receive it.

  • One of our member benefits is the Union Plus credit card. If you are a Union Plus credit card holder, you can apply for the Union Plus Disaster Relief Fund ($500). If you have a Union Plus Mortgage or insurance policy through Union Plus you may be able to receive payment extensions. Find information here.

Red Cross relief available:

  • The Red Cross provides emergency grants of around $350-800 depending on extent of damage and household size. You can contact them at (509) 326-3330.

Contact WA211 for Community Resources

  • If you are in need of temporary shelter, call 211 or visit WA211.org.

Want to Help WFSE Members in Need?

WFSE members have lost their homes. Here are two ways you can help:

  • You can also donate to the AFSCME Heroes Fund, which provides relief and assistance to members who fall victim to natural disasters and other tragedies. This fund has been activated for the Spokane County fires as well as the recent fire in Maui. 

Keep an eye out for information about other ways you can provide assistance. 

In solidarity,

AFSCME Council 28/WFSE