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Fire update: Colvilles start focusing on rebuilding

 

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In this morning's (9/7/15) fire report, the Colvilles assert they're ready to rebuild, even as fire fighters are strengthening their defense lines.

North Star and Tunk Block Fire incident commander's report:

Yesterday’s Activities: The fuels in the fire area began drying after the rain Saturday. Parts of the southwest and northwest corners of the North Star Fire dried sufficiently for small burnouts to secure containment lines. Hand and dozer lines to control fire spread continued to be constructed along the southwest and west portions of the North Star Fire, and the northeast boundary of the Tunk Block Fire (NE Tunk Mountain). A large portion of the Tunk Block Fire and the southern edge of the North Star fire are in mop-up and patrol. About 150 people participated in the public meeting in Republic.

Today’s Operations: If conditions permit, crews will continue burnout in portions of the north (Cornell Butte), northeast and southwest portion of the North Star Fire. In the Highway 21 corridor, crews will try to keep the fire on the higher slopes above the road in the Nanamkin Creek area. Fireline construction, mop-up and patrol will continue, and rehabilitation of firelines may begin on the Tunk Block Fire. Work continues on the contingency line northeast of Tunk Mountain should it be needed to better protect private land and homes in Aeneas Valley, and the lookout. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will visit the fire today and speak with firefighters and tribal leaders.

Weather: The forecast is for continued cool and mostly cloudy with isolated showers through tomorrow. Maximum temperatures mid-50s at higher elevations and 65-70 in the valleys. Relative humidity will be 30-40%. Winds will be light upslope or from the northwest with gusts up to 8 mph on ridges.

Colville Reservation: Wildfires are not new to the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation but the North Star and Tunk Block Fires have made history as the largest fires in memory. There will be stories of firefighter’s strength and courage to protect life, property, and how difficult it was to witness the loss of homes. Some residents had to evacuate and leave their homes for a couple of weeks. Partnerships were formed and strengthened with agencies (shown above) to manage the fires, and the tribe’s community center has been used as an incident command post. Now, as the sun rises from the east, the tribes begin plans to rebuild.

Evacuations/Closure Information: Several changes were made in Evacuation levels yesterday. The area along Highway 155 and much of the area south of Highway 20 was reduced to Levels 2 or 1. Areas remaining in Level 3 Evacuation include the west side of Highway 21 from McMann Creek south to Bridge Creek and around Moses Meadows. Highway 21 remains closed. Evacuation and closure information is dynamic and changes more frequently than this report is updated. For the most current evacuation information, please contact your closest Emergency Operations Center (EOC): Colville Tribal Emergency Services 509-634-2105, Okanogan County EOC (509) 422-7206, Ferry County EOC 509-775-3132. Highway closure information is available online: http://www.wsdot.com/traffic/trafficalerts.

National Forest Lands east of Tonasket and south of Highway 20 on the Tonasket Ranger District are closed. Colville Indian Reservation forest and recreational areas are closed within the fires.

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Incident Information for

North Star & Tunk Block Fires

509-826-7140

North Star Fire: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4524/

Tunk Block Fire: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4598/

Blog: https://northstarandtunkblockfires.wordpress.com

Twitter: @OkaWenNF

Facebook: North Star Fire

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