MALDEN, Wash. — The fire department for Malden and Pine City will receive tens of thousands of dollars from the Washington Fire Chiefs Association (WFCA) after a wildfire devastated the towns in September 2020.
The funds are coming from a grant given to the WFCA in the fall from FM Global to help offset the effects of Washington state's last wild fire season. Some of the worst scenes from last summer's wildfires were seen in Malden and Pine City. Both cities were almost completely destroyed from the Babb Road Fire.
About 80% of the towns were decimated. Houses and city buildings were destroyed along with Malden's fire station and single fire truck. The $20,000 is intended to help the fire departments buy back the basic equipment they lost and rebuild their fire protections.
Representative from the WFC Board of Directors will present the funds to Malden's mayor at noon on Tuesday. The remaining grant money will be used for training and education for the state's fire service to prepare for the upcoming fire season.
Washington Commissioner of Public Lands Hillary Franz toured Malden with its former mayor soon after the fire tore through the town in September.
“The story on Malden is the story of almost every community on the front line of fire in this state," Franz said. "What it needs is, first—much of these resources are volunteer firefighters. Twenty-plus firefighters in this community are all volunteer. Many of them are probably aging and we don’t have the next bench. We need more fire fighting resources, even at just a regional level, that can come in."
That same day, Franz promised the city she would replace their fire truck. On December 17, that promise became a reality when the town of Malden received its new fire engine.
FEMA recently denied the cities' requests for individual assistance, saying the Babb Road Fire impacts weren't severe enough. The Small Business Administration later announced that it is offering low-interest federal disaster loans to Washington businesses and residents affected by wildfires in September 2020.
A Washington bill would also add more money and equipment for wildfire response.