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Mudslides close three highways; some structures damaged

— Three mudslides, one of them considered major, have swept away a few structures, trapped up to a dozen vehicles and closed state Highway 153 south of town.

The Thursday night slides are in the area hit a month ago during the Carlton Complex fire. A thunderstorm dumped rain on the area.

No injuries have been reported. The Washington State Patrol and Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office are working to rescue the trapped motorists, Trooper Darren Wright said.

Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers could not be reached for comment.

Wright said the largest of the slides is about five miles south of town at milepost 29 in the Beaver Creek area. A length of highway stretching 100-150 yards is covered with mud about five feet deep.

It’s not known when the highway will reopen.

Meanwhile, the other major highway into the Methow Valley from points east also is blocked by slides. State Highway 20 is closed between milepost 205, near Finley Canyon south of Twisp, to milepost 229 at the Sheep Slaughter area a few miles west of Okanogan.

To the south, U.S. Highway 97 is closed about a mile south of Chelan Falls at milepost 228. That slide should be cleared soon, since the debris is about five inches deep, Wright said.

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