WCC disaster response
Coronavirus (COVID-19) status update
To further support the state’s response to COVID-19, WCC field activities are temporarily suspended statewide through April 9, 2020. Visit the Washington State Department of Health website for the latest information, guidance, and resources about coronavirus (COVID-19). See more information on the new statewide COVID-19 site.
Our Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) provides disaster services in Washington and beyond, assisting communities after fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, oil spills, and more. Five of our WCC crews are designated disaster response crews, though any crew has the potential to deploy.
While providing disaster services, members will be away from home for up to 30 days at a time. Housing accommodations may consist of a campsite, community center basement, or other makeshift location. These are rigorous assignments so be sure you are up to the challenge before applying to one of our disaster response crews. Beyond our five designated disaster response crews, WCC member participation in response efforts is voluntary.
Flood assistance in Washington
WCC crews can deploy to assist with flood response efforts, including installing sandbags, operating pumps, clearing debris, and more. Our crews are stationed across the state and can respond quickly. Requests for assistance must be routed through the city or county emergency management office. You can look up the local emergency management office at this link: Local Emergency Management Office.
WCC disaster response services may be free to local jurisdictions depending on available funds. You can contact Bridget Talebi at 360-480-2293 to discuss process, availability, and funding options.
Recent response summaries
In WCC’s largest out-of-state deployment since 2012, 72 WCC staff and AmeriCorps members traveled to Baton Rouge, La. in August 2016, to assist communities after record flooding. WCC supervisor Ernie Farmer led the AmeriCorps Disaster Response Team (ADRT) response as Incident Commander. Supervisor Rob Crawford served as Operations Chief, Phill VanKessel as Logistics Chief, and other WCC supervisors helped lead more than 400 responding AmeriCorps members. In November, 24 additional WCC staff and AmeriCorps members arrived in Louisiana for another 30-day deployment. WCC has continued to assist with disaster services in Louisiana during the 2016-2017 service year, returning early March from ADRT's final month of response efforts. Read member-written blog posts from this deployment.
Florida Hurricane Matthew
In mid-October 2016, 24 WCC AmeriCorps members and staff departed for Florida to assist communities affected by Hurricane Matthew. During the 30-day deployment, primary tasks included debris removal, hazard tree removal, roof tarping and more. For member-written blog posts from this deployment, visit our Facebook page.
West Virginia flooding
Twelve WCC staff and AmeriCorps members deployed to Charleston, WV, in early July 2016 for a 30-day disaster response deployment. Members assisted communities after devastating flooding hit in late June. Tasks included volunteer reception center coordination, "muck and gut" structure operations, and more. For member-written blog posts from this deployment, visit our Facebook page.
Thirty-seven WCC AmeriCorps members and staff drove to Missouri in early January 2016 to assist with flood response efforts. Twenty-four additional WCC AmeriCorps members and staff arrived in February to take over operations for another month. In addition to debris removal and "muck and gut" structure operations, WCC AmeriCorps members and staff held key leadership roles within the AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams onsite. For member-written blog posts from this deployment, visit our Facebook page.
In early October 2015, WCC sent a team of eight WCC AmeriCorps members and two supervisors to Saipan to assist the community after Typhoon Soudelor hit in August. Saipan is part of the Northern Mariana Islands, a commonwealth of the United States. In a more unique disaster response assignment, WCC AmeriCorps members and staff led capacity building efforts on the island. Collaborating with local representatives, they helped create a support system so that relief can continue on the island long-term. Read a member's reflection.
Grays Harbor flooding
Our WCC AmeriCorps members and staff deployed to Grays Harbor, Wash. to assist with initial response efforts in January 2015, after torrential rains caused heavy flooding and mudslides. In February-March 2015, our crews returned to complete mold remediation projects in the hardest hit areas. Read a member's reflection.
A six-person crew deployed to Detroit, Mich. in December 2014, after record-breaking rainfall caused flash floods throughout the metro area. In total, the crew completed 57 "muck and gut" structure operations, conducted 18 damage assessments, and cleared more than 1,000 cubic yards of debris in a month. Read a member's reflection.
Every year, the WCC deploys members and crew supervisors to assist with wildfire response throughout Washington. Below are a few highlights from recent years:
- In summer 2016, WCC members and staff responded to six Washington wildfires. WCC also provided logistical support for the Eastern and Western Washington fire training academies. In total, 55 members and staff provided 5,617 hours of wildfire response services.
- In summer 2015, 150 WCC members and staff responded to 26 wildfires throughout Washington for a total of 26,064 hours. Read a nationally published member-written blog post from the 2015 fire season.
- In summer 2014, 172 members and supervisors responded to 11 wildfires. Sixty-eight WCC members and supervisors responded to the Carlton Complex wildfire. WCC logged over 38,000 hours assisting wildfire response efforts.
- Since September 2014, the WCC has provided nearly 6,000 hours of service to Carlton Complex recovery efforts. To date, the WCC has removed over 10 miles of fire-damaged fencing through our partnership with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The State Route 530 landslide struck near Oso, Wash., on March 22, 2014. The WCC rallied to support response efforts in Oso, Arlington, and Darrington — growing from one six-person AmeriCorps crew deployed on March 26 to nine crews (54 AmeriCorps members and staff) on scene at the peak of search and rescue operations. In total, 83 AmeriCorps members and 25 staff provided assistance over the course of a month. Each crew deployed for fourteen 16-hour days, a combined total of over 18,500 hours served.
In addition, WCC responded to Yukon flooding in Alaska in 2013, Hurricane Sandy in 2012, a tornado in Joplin, Mo., in 2011 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.