(Nespelem, WA) — The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation declared a state of emergency today due to multiple uncontrolled fires on the Colville Reservation. The Reservation is currently shut down to industrial activities and to the general public. The Tribes has imposed an Industrial Fire Precaution Level IV general shutdown, which closes all forest roads to the public. State and county improved roads (with a paved or gravel surface) remain open.
The Chuweah Creek fire was uncontained and at 10,000 acres burned this morning, and has already burned multiple homes and outbuildings. The fire danger is extreme, with record high ERC (Energy Release Component) levels and a heat advisory through 8 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday, July 14) with temperatures forecast to be as high as 105 degrees. There is also a fire weather watch projected through Thursday (July 15) afternoon, with wind gusts of up to 25 miles per hour adding to the fire danger.
All tribal government operations in Nespelem are closed today, including the Lucy Covington Government Center and Tribal Court. The situation will be reassessed tonight. Temperatures are projected to be moderate on Friday and through the weekend. Concerned parties who wish to make donations may contact Brian Nanamkin at (509) 978-9197.
Chairman Andy Joseph, Jr. stated, “Our priority is always the safety of all people on the Colville Reservation, and we will also protect property to the best of our ability. Our hearts and thoughts go out to the people already impacted by these fires. We thank those coming onto our land to assist us in fighting these fires, and we appreciate the donations and offers for help that are already coming in. The need for action to protect our climate, and to mitigate the effects of climate change, becomes clearer with each passing year and each round of devastating fires.”