Nespelem Evacuated After Lightning Fire Burns Over 10,000 Acres
July 13, 2021
Source: The Spokesman-Review
Approximate impacted areas:
– Nespelem (Okanogan County, 99155)
*Concentrated home damage reported
NOTE: This has NOT yet been declared a FEMA Major Disaster.
When Dan Nanamkin rushed back to his home near the Colville Indian Agency Monday night he was met with an inferno.
A wildfire ignited by lightning raced across 10,000 acres and burned seven homes overnight Monday. Four were vacant.
The entire town of Nespelem evacuated safely before the fire arrived, said Colville Tribal Chairman Andrew “Badger” Joseph Jr.
“It was really crazy last night,” he said.
Nanamkin described the lightning as “super bright, just shooting straight down.”
The Chuweah Creek/Joe Moses Fire is the largest of five fires caused by lightning, according to information from the Colville Tribes, Department of Natural Resource and Mount Tolman Fire Center. During the storm Monday night, about 60 lightning strikes hit the ground, according to the National Weather Service in Spokane.
The first reports of fire came at 7:15 p.m. southeast of Nespelem. Driven by wind and fueled with tall grass, sagebrush and timber, the fire burned 10,000 acres as it moved toward town and the Colville Indian Agency.
“Police and people were coming by the houses asking people to get up and go,” Joseph said. “They can’t make you do that, but a lot of people evacuated – our convalescent seniors, our nursing home was evacuated.”
Seven outbuildings were also lost, but that number likely has grown, Joseph said.
“There might be more now; a while ago, we saw a big black plume of smoke go up, so that kind of says it might be a building or vehicle,” Joseph said Tuesday afternoon.
The fire killed an unknown number of livestock, and some animals were severely injured and had to be euthanized. Many more are missing.
CenturyLink telephone equipment in the area was also damaged and caused a service outage.
For full report, please click the source link above.