ELLENSBURG — Kittitas County residents that have been helping victims of last summer’s massive Taylor Bridge Fire are trying to get the community better prepared for the next disaster.

Since forming late last fall, the Taylor Bridge Fire Recovery Group has tried to fill fire victims’ needs. The fire destroyed more than 60 homes and scorched 36 square miles.

In recognition of that work, the Kittitas County and Yakima Valley chapters of the American Red Cross will donate $6,158 to the group at 12:45 p.m. Monday in the Kittitas County chapter’s office at 312 N. Pearl St., Ellensburg.

“The generosity of this community was overwhelming in response to this unprecedented disaster,” Martha Read, regional emergency services director for the Red Cross, said in a news release issued Thursday. “Not only was there enough funding to support the massive Red Cross emergency relief operation during and immediately after the wildfire, but we are excited that there is some money still available to help with long-term recovery.”

While the community’s response was great, it took valuable time to organize, said Lloyd Olson, a Taylor Bridge Fire Recovery Group member.

Olson and others are working on a plan for a quick-response relief group in the event of another disaster.

Olson wants the group to pick up where emergency responders leave off.

Local residents still needing assistance because of the Taylor Bridge Fire can contact Olson at 509-670-0042 or olydot@msn.com to start a claim with the recovery group, which has helped with everything from food and clothing to firewood and getting tools for a skilled laborer.

• Dan Catchpole can be reached at 509-759-7850 or dcatchpole@yakimaherald.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/dcatchpole.