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Wildfires Still Rage Amid Mudslides In Central Washington

Crews build a fire line at the Carlton Complex.
Crews build a fire line at the Carlton Complex.

The National Weather Service says slow-moving storms creeping through Central Washington could bring another round of mudslides this evening.

Crews build a fire line at the Carlton Complex.
Credit InciWeb
Crews build a fire line at the Carlton Complex.

Yet the same wildfires that stripped the hillsides and left them prone to slides continue to burn. The remaining crews are now dealing with both fires and flooding.

Water that reached mid-calf flowed through a fire incident command post outside Twisp Thursday night. It took out people's tents, damaged yurts, and extinguished the power to the fire information center.

Roads around the Carlton Complex fires are now impassable. Crews were called back to keep them out of harm's way of debris flows.

But public information officer Traci Weaver said all the rain hasn't had the effect you might expect on the fire.

“Rain doesn't necessarily put a fire out, much like if you just dump a little water on a campfire it doesn't put it out,” she said. “Fire burns down into the duff layer, down into logs.”

Weaver sayid one worker driving back from the Carlton Complex on Thursday was washed off the road by a flow of mud, rock and burned branches. He traveled about 1,000 feet down a creek before coming to a stop and was able to escape the SUV out the passenger side window.

About 500 people are still assigned to the Carlton Complex and two adjacent fires in Okanogan County.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network

Jessica Robinson
Jessica Robinson reported for four years from the Northwest News Network's bureau in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho as the network's Inland Northwest Correspondent. From the politics of wolves to mining regulation to small town gay rights movements, Jessica covered the economic, demographic and environmental trends that have shaped places east of the Cascades. Jessica left the Northwest News Network in 2015 for a move to Norway.