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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Mudslide in Okanogan County damages three homes

Flash flooding in Okanogan County led to a mudslide that damaged three homes near Bonaparte Lake Road Friday.

Burn scars from the Walker Creek and Spur fires created prime conditions for the mudslide, said Maurice Goodall, director of Okanogan County Emergency Management.

No area residents or first responders were injured, he said.

The National Weather Service issued a flood watch for the Okanogan Valley on Friday; then at about 1 or 2 p.m. the weather service issued a flood warning for the Bonaparte Lake area, Goodall said.

Bonaparte Lake is about 25 miles up State Route 20 from Republic and about 10 miles north of Wauconda.

The Walker Creek Fire started Aug. 3 near Bonaparte Lake and burned more than 23,700 acres of largely timberland over the next two months until it was contained on Oct. 15.

Sheets of rain hit at about 3 p.m. turning the burn scars into streams of mud, he said.

The mud started to slip, collecting rocks, bushes, and eventually trees through Forest Service land then fanning out toward homes, Goodall said.

One house was hit directly, Goodall said. The slide pushed outbuildings up to the main home and deposited a lot of debris, he said.

Two elderly residents were home at the time but were rescued by neighbors after the slide had passed. Their horses in the front yard escaped with minor injuries, Goodall said.

A house a bit north of the main home also had a bit of damage with debris deposited in the area. Residents heard the mudslide coming and were able to move their animals out of the way, Goodall said.

A third unoccupied home also sustained some damage as the mudflow came around it, Goodall added.

Vehicles were pushed quite a distance out to Bonapart Lake Road, Goodall said, creating a blockage. The road near State Route 20 was undercut by the slide, causing damage he said. The road was closed Friday from 3:30 p.m. until 11 p.m., Goodall said.

The road has reopened in some capacity, Goodall said but he was unsure if damage had kept one lane closed.

Power in the area was knocked out for about four hours, he said.

While additional storms passed through the area Sunday, no new mudslides or damage was reported, Goodall said.

Thankfully no one was injured, Goodall said, but damage from the mudslide will require significant cleanup with fences decimated, and the landscape altered.

“It’s not going to be a quick fix,” Goodall said.