Family of Malden settlers vows to rebuild property devastated by fire

MALDEN, Wash. — This has been one of the most devastating fire seasons yet, especially for the small town of Malden.

To some, this small town may not seem like much.

“It’s quiet,” said Jim Moreland.

For Moreland and his family, it’s been home for as long as they can remember.

“The ranch has been here in the family since 1915,” he said.

His connection to Malden goes even further back to 1890, when Moreland’s great grandfather moved to the area before it was even considered a town.

“They sold plots and lots to the people that moved in,” Moreland said.

Plots and lots that eventually turned into homes. Homes, now barely recognizable, after a wildfire destroyed nearly everything.

“That was a trauma and a tragedy that I never dreamed I’d see,” said Moreland.

“Everything we’ve done for 40 years is in this place,” said Julia Ciesielski, Jim’s sister.

Ciesielski was there when it all happened.

“Kristen called me and she said it’s getting closer and closer. I said we’ll be prepared to evacuate,” she said.

Ciesielski says she was on her way out of town in what felt like just moments later.

She’d soon find out much of her property was destroyed. Several cars, their barn, even their duck farm – gone.

“It’s a little tough to take. I still haven’t been into town yet,” Moreland said.

“I’ll be glad when it’s all scraped off and we can start anew. That’s our goal,” said Ciesielski.

Although it’s hard to process, Moreland and his family know there’s a lot to be grateful for.

“No lives were lost. Nobody was hurt anywhere around here,” he said.

They plan on rebuilding the life they created here in Malden, even if that means starting from scratch.