Number of firefighters could triple to stop big wildfire in north central Washington

by: Chris Legeros Updated:

 The Carlton Complex of wildfires is still burning out of control in Okanogan and Chelan counties.  

The state has decided that instead of using one team of 625 firefighters based in Winthrop, it will add teams based in Omak and Chelan.

“I think it’s just going to make it to where we have a lot more resources and boots on the ground to help put this thing out,” said Fire Information Officer Tim Percival. 

The Okanogan County Sheriff reports that as many as 150 homes have burned--52 of them in the Alta Lake community south of Pateros.  

“It’s just destroyed, it’s haunting,” said Bill Mead, whose home was spared but the homes of neighbors and friends are gone. 

Without power and water, Mead, 75, can’t stay at his home.

“This community is just a wonderful community and I don’t know if I have enough time left to watch it rebuild,” he said.

The number of homes destroyed in Pateros is now estimated to be as high as 40. The threat is far from over. 

Pateros remains under an evacuation notice.  So does the Alta Lake community. 

Planes were dropping fire retardant on a burning bluff south of Pateros Saturday afternoon.  

60 homeowners along Antoine Creek Road were told by deputies Saturday to evacuate. 

Tom Ryan was one of them.  He had sprinklers running on his roof and yard to protect his home from burning cinders.

Ryan said if he has to leave, relatives have offered him a place to stay at Lake Chelan.