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No power, phone service in towns hit by wildfire

UPDATED: Sat., July 19, 2014, 3:21 p.m.

Burned cables, telephone poles and power lines have cut off all power, phone and Internet services in several Central Washington towns hit by wildfires.

Power is out in Pateros, Carlton, Twisp, Winthrop and surrounding areas, according to a press release from the Okanogan County Public Utilities District. The electrical system is “almost a complete loss,” the release said, and could take several weeks to repair.

People hooking generators into their homes improperly are endangering repair workers by energizing lines that should be de-energized, the press release said. Anyone who wants to hook their home up to a generator is asked to call (509) 422-3310 so it can be done safely.

Phone and internet services, including 911, are out in Twisp, Winthrop, Mazama, Pateros and the surrounding areas, according to a press release from CenturyLink. Crews are working to fix the problem but services are expected to be out for an extended period of time.

Phone lines are still working in Malott, Omak, Okanogan and Oroville but they are overloaded, the press release said. Many people are getting a fast busy signal when they try to dial. People in those areas are being asked to limit their phone calls to emergencies only.

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