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Colville repairing bridge on upper Barnaby Creek

FORESTS — Until a bridge is repaired, access to the Barnaby Buttes Trailhead and many prized huckleberry picking patches on the Colville National Forest will require a much longer drive for those used to accessing them off of South Fork Sherman Creek Road.

The South Fork of Sherman Creek Bridge on Barnaby Creek Road, Forest Service Road (FS RD) 2014000, has been closed because of damage sustained in the July 20 wind storm, officials reported today.

Read on for details.

Colville forest crews still clearing storm blowdowns

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NATIONAL FORESTS — Crews have reopened all the primary roads on the Colville National Forest since a July 20 storm leveled trees on roughly 4,000 acres of the 1.1 million-acre forest.  Most of the damage was on the Republic Ranger District.

Some of the seconary roads and trails are still plugged with trees that were toppled by the storm — or weakened so much that they're still falling.

Crews have cleared all secondary roads listed as "open" on the Colville National Forest Interactive Motor Interactive  Vehicle Use Map, said Franklin Pemberton, forest spokesman.  If a road was useable this summer before the storm but not officially designated as "open" to motorized use, crews will not be dispatched to cut out the blowdowns, he said.

"While all roads that were passible prior to the storm event have been cleared of down trees, it is important to note that there are roads that were washed out do to storm activity prior to this event that have not been repaired," he said.

A list of those roads can be found on the Colville National Forest Web site under Conditions: Road Report

All trailheads are open, but trails can still have trees down across them and potentially weakened trees that could come down.  More trees have fallen on some trails that have been cut out, he said.

"If you're a mountain biker or equestrian headed out on the trails,  you should bring a saw," he said.

Ten Mile Campground south of Republic (see photos above) remains closed and the Empire Lake dispersed campsites are also closed.

Updates: Republic Ranger District Office, (509) 775-7400.

Storm nearly dealt Cheney family a death blow at campsite

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CAMPING — The best part of this camping trip?   Nobody was killed.

A Cheney family survived a harrowing evening during the storm that ravaged Ferry County on July 20, 2012.

See their photos above.

See a story about the storm and brief surge of hurricane-force winds swept through the region

Ferry County residents need donations to get through storm disaster

OUTDOORS — There's plenty of firewood for keeping warm in northeastern Washington this week, but many People are hurting for other necessities.

With hundreds of families still without power after last Friday's wind storm wreaked havoc in the region, officials in Ferry County are trying to drum up help with a list of basic necessisties people are needing to get back into gear — including a family that lost their home.

"There's a snowballing effect to this Ferry County disaster," said Bob Whittaker, who lives near Curlew. "Ferry County has Washington State's highest unemployment rate.  Everyone has freezers full of deer meat that gets us through the year. Being this rural, all of us shop in bulk and freeze food. 

"But without power, its all going bad. I just found out they are still rationing blocks of ice in Republic.

"Keller on the Colville Reservation is even more devastated than North County but we are not hearing about it as much, yet. again, no power."

Are we in Kansas?

I’m pleased to report that my roof is still on my house. This morning at 1 a.m. I wasn’t so sure that would be the case, but an early morning inspection showed all roofing tiles present and accounted for.  I’m sure there are residents of the greater Spokane Valley area who are dealing with some wind damage today. Send me a picture at ninac@spokesman.com and I’ll see if I can figure out how to post a slide show of what you send me. If you don’t have any photographic proof, just leave a comment about what you’ve been dealing with.

Dustin: Me Hates Wind Gusts

On Twitter, Dustin Hurst/Idaho Reporter writes: “I hate wind. I hate it more than any other weather condition. I would rather have 7 feet of snow than wind gusts.”

Question: Which weather condition bugs you most?

Gone With The Wind

Me, of It’s Just Me blogging fame, posted this photo on Facebook and noted: “Here is what happened to my friend’s house last night in that wind.” The house is the one in Hayden Lake that Fred LeClair III was leasing from John Parry. Tom Hasslinger has CdA Press story here.

Hayden Man Escapes Death In Storm

In one Hayden Lake neighborhood more than a dozen trees came down and several homes were damaged in Wednesday night’s wind and rain storm. No one was seriously hurt but one man said he came close to death when a tree came crashing into his home. Fred LeClair of Hayden Lake said he went to bed early last night and awoke to the sound of his roof caving in. “I’m still in shock, it’s amazing, that’s a big tree in the house,” said LeClair/KHQ. More here.

Question: Have you ever had a nature-caused brush w/death?

P.S. Storm Hits UI Campus

University of Idaho students look at a tree that blew down on campus during a wind storm in Moscow, Idaho, on Thursday. (AP Photo/Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Geoff Crimmins)