NCW — Residents who evacuated in the St. Mary’s Mission Road Fire east of Omak on Tuesday were allowed to return home Saturday morning. The road — where two homes and eight other buildings were destroyed and the Paschal Sherman Indian School was threatened by the wind-driven fire — remains closed to the public.
Now 15 percent contained, the fire is still active, and more than 500 firefighting personnel, eight helicopters and 39 engines are working to protect the 54 homes still considered threatened on the Colville Indian Reservation, fire spokeswoman Janet Pearce said.
“The northwest corner, luckily, is looking pretty good,” she said. “If we can get the east and southeast corner, we’ll be in better shape.”
Meanwhile, on the Wenatchee Complex fires, officials had a busy day Friday moving the camp to the Chelan County Fairgrounds as firefighters burned out in the Horseshoe area behind Mission Peak, said fire spokesman Mick Mueller. Firefighters are now working to install 100-foot firelines to prevent any possibility of fires spreading, he said.
A team has been assembled to assess the post-fire conditions for several fires in the complex that have been contained.
The interagency team, called a Burned Area Emergency Response, includes numerous specialists, from hydrologists and soil scientists to archaeologists, who will analyze the condition of areas burned, and identify immediate actions that can be taken to protect people, property and cultural and natural resources.
Actions could include removing hazardous trees and detect rock slides along roads and trails, stabilizing bare slopes and removing debris from culverts.
A long-term plan will also be developed to look at salvaging timber, replanting trees and restoring resources.
The team is also working with local officials to make sure communities are aware that the canyons within the burned areas can experience flooding and mudslides. The U.S. Forest Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and local agencies are preparing to help landowners prepare for rain.
K.C. Mehaffey: 997-2512