Sheriff’s Office confirms 100 homes destroyed; fiber line repair, generators needed

— Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed 100 homes have been destroyed so far in the Carlton Complex fires.

During a Saturday morning management briefing at the Sheriff’s Office, officials said 100 homes have been confirmed destroyed in the lightning-caused blazes that started Monday in the Methow Valley but have burned across the mountains and down the Methow Valley into Pateros-Brewster and the mid-valley area.

Around 500 Level 3 (highest) evacuation notices are in effect.

Fifty people stayed overnight at the Red Cross shelter at the Cornerstone Christian Fellowship Church, 328 Riverside Drive, Omak. Other shelters are at Chelan High School, 215 W. Webster St., and the Winthrop Barn, 51 state Highway 20.

The Red Cross and Baptist Church will feed people starting Sunday. The Red Cross has been offering food, water and overnight facilities to evacuees for several days.

Emergency Manager Scott Miller said repair of the Okanogan County’s Public Utility District fiber optics backbone is needed.

Utility Manager John Grubich said Friday that several miles of the backbone burned along Old Highway 97 between Malott and Brewster. It could take some time to get it fixed, although both Douglas and Chelan counties have offered help and supplies.

The utility sells wholesale telecommunications to retailers, who sell it to end users. The line is functional north of Malott.

County Commissioner Sheilah Kennedy said three five-megawatt generators are needed for Pateros to get water services back up, and another is needed for Twisp. Firefighting trucks in the Methow Valley don’t have access to diesel fuel because there’s no electricity in the valley.

The public utility district’s transmission line over Loup Loup Pass was heavily damaged by fire. The line serves district customers in the Twisp area southward and Okanogan County Electric Cooperative customers in the Winthrop and Mazama areas.

There have also been reports that Winthrop’s two stations are out of fuel.

So many roads have been closed in the fire area, which stretches from Winthrop to Pateros and northward to Malott, that the county has run out of closure signs.


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