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How To Profit From Wildfire: Sell Gatorade and Water

The Hart Fire is burning on the Spokane Indian Reservation, approximately 50 miles north of Spokane.
Lincoln County Sheriff's Office
The Hart Fire is burning on the Spokane Indian Reservation, approximately 50 miles north of Spokane.

A menacing wildfire continues to threaten an Indian Reservation 50 miles north of Spokane. But the blaze could have a positive impact on one local business.

If you live in Wellpinit, the Spokane tribe’s headquarters, you head for the trading post when you need something. But the fire knocked out power, so the trading post was closed all day Monday. For most of the week, meat and dairy products haven’t been available.

“We were out of power, so we lost most of our perishables,” said Calvin McCrae, who helps manage the store.

The trading post lost almost $4,000 worth of food.

“We try to hit about $7,000 a day, but it doesn’t always pan out like that,” McCrae said. “And then with us not being open for business that’s just a huge deficit.”

But with hundreds of firefighters in town, the store stands to profit. Firefighter Sean Eli was looking for “some stuff to get [him] through the day.”

“Jerky for protein and drinks to keep your electrolytes pretty much,” he said.

Other firefighters came for toothbrushes, soap, even chewing tobacco. The U.S. Forest Service purchased $4,000 worth of water and Gatorade from the trading post.

The agency told Calvin McCrae they’ll probably need more in a few days.

Copyright 2016 Northwest News Network

Emily Schwing
Emily Schwing comes to the Inland Northwest by way of Alaska, where she covered social and environmental issues with an Arctic spin as well as natural resource development, wildlife management and Alaska Native issues for nearly a decade. Her work has been heard on National Public Radio’s programs like “Morning Edition” and “All things Considered.” She has also filed for Public Radio International’s “The World,” American Public Media’s “Marketplace,” and various programs produced by the BBC and the CBC. She has also filed stories for Scientific American, Al Jazeera America and Arctic Deeply.