Weather helps firefighters in Methow Valley


Favorable weather Tuesday helped more than 2,100 firefighters begin to contain the devastating wildfire in Okanogan County.

The blaze, known as the Carlton Complex fire, has scorched 250,136 acres, or 390 square miles – about 6 1/2 times the size of the city of Spokane – since it was sparked by a lightning strike on July 14.

It grew rapidly late last week, leaving fire crews scrambling to evacuate homes in Pateros, Alta Lake, Malott, Monse and other communities.

Officials reported 153 homes were lost to fire, mostly in Pateros and Alta Lake. One person, a retired state patrol officer, died of a heart attack while trying to save his home.

But favorable conditions, including some rain, higher humidity and cooler weather, aided firefighters in suppressing the fire, which had spread away from populated areas on Sunday. Officials reported they had the fire 16 percent contained Tuesday.

Widespread power outages continue throughout the Methow Valley, and state Rep. Kevin Parker, R-Spokane, helped organize a donation drive that delivered about 25 generators and drinking water to Brewster, Pateros and Twisp.

Parker said the reaction of the children, in particular, illustrated the magnitude of the fire’s devastation.

“Kids are cheering for water when they should be cheering for ice cream,” he said.

Also on Tuesday, the Red Cross mobilized food trucks to drive through Pateros and Carlton. The organization set up shelters in Winthrop, Chelan and Brewster.

Since Thursday, the Red Cross had served about 2,000 meals and provided about 230 overnight stays to fire victims, said spokeswoman Megan Snow.

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