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State Update: Fires hold steady as victims get help

Mills Canyon fire at night, July 9, 2014. Photo by Vladimir Steblina / InciWeb

The state’s lead fire fighting agencies—the Department of Natural Resources (DNR)andthe State Fire Marshal’s Office of the Washington State Patrol (WSP)—continued to lead state government’s response today to multiple wildfires  in central and eastern Washington today.


Okanogan County: Fires were cooler this morning on the Carlton Complex, but were bad yesterday as 41 homes were destroyed near Alta Lake. County emergency management estimates a total of 150-200 homes have now been destroyed in Okanogan County. The Carlton Complex has burned 299,897 acres. Brewster, Pateros, Twisp, Winthrop and other communities in the county are temporarily powering water systems and sewer services on generator. Two of the four gas stations in Winthrop have power now, making it less of a problem to gasoline and diesel fuel.


While Okanogan County has been the hardest hit due to the sprawling Carlton Complex, wildfires are also burning in Chelan, Grant, Kittitas, Lincoln, Spokane and Yakima counties.

  • The Chiwaukum Complex has burned 11,051 acres and continues to grow.

o   The Mills Canyon Fire, branch of the Chiwaukum, has burned 22,571 acres

  • The Saddle Mountain Fire in Kittitas County has burned 20,200 acres but will demobilize at midnight.
  • The Watermelon Hill Fire in Spokane County has burned 8,000 acres.


Other state activities


The Washington State Department of Transportation is working to keep roads open. The latest on road closures and openings is at

The Department of Commerce’s Energy Office says approximately 7,000 customers of the Okanogan PUD and Okanogan Electric Cooperative are without power. Power for feeders along Interstate and state highways and from there into Pateros and Winthrop is estimated to be restored by the end of week. It is estimated that full restoration along county roads and to individual homes and businesses in Okanogan will take several weeks.


The Washington National Guard has four Blackhawk helicopters, two fuel trucks and 21 personnel deployed to Carlton Complex. There are two Chinook helicopters, two fuel trucks and 17 personnel on the Mills Canyon Complex. An incident communications package staffed by five personnel is setting up at Omak. Having completed pre-mobilization preparations, 100 National Guard soldiers are standing by in Yakima to support Department of Natural Resources fire fighters. Through July 19, Guard helicopters dropped 400,440 gallons of water on fires.


Personnel from the Department of Health’s (DOH) Environment Public Health Division are consulting with wildfire-impacted counties about air quality and water quality issues. DOH and the Department of Ecology are partnering to analyze and monitor how smoke and ash are affecting air quality.


The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) deployed two trained crews with a total of 20 youths to support DNR firefighting efforts.DSHS and the American Red Cross are co-leading state-level mass care and emergency assistance efforts with support from FEMA Region 10.


The Department of Enterprise Services is assisting Okanogan County with a liaison to manage donations, and another liaison to support operations in the county’s emergency operations center in Omak.


Gov. Jay Inslee and Maj. Gen, Bret Daugherty from the Washington Military Department toured the Paschal-Sherman Indian Boarding School, a Bureau of Indian Affairs facility on the Colville Indian Reservation. The school is being considered for housing displaced individuals from the Carlton Complex fire, or National Guard and emergency services personnel supporting fire-fighting efforts.


Non-government agencies—The American Red Cross is operating shelters in Chelan, Omak and Winthrop and opening a shelter in Brewster tonight. The Red Cross and Southern Baptist Disaster Services began providing meals in Okanogan County today. The Red Cross is establishing a shelter in Brewster so residents from there will be closer to home. Many Brewster residents are currently using the shelter in the town of Chelan. The Chelan shelter will not close until people are no longer staying there. In coordination with the Red Cross, Okanogan County Health is contacting medical suppliers to ensure that Winthrop residents are able to get replacement oxygen bottles.


State agencies coordinate their support to the wildfire response through the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at Camp Murray. The Logistics Section of the State EOC is processing requests for generators from Pateros, Twisp and Winthrop. The three communities are already using back-up generators to power utility services and need more. A liaison from the State EOC’s Operations Section worked with utility officials in Okanogan County today as they assessed power requirements in Twisp and Winthrop.

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New phone scam claiming to be Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Deputy

Grays Harbor County Sheriff's Department

The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department is warning of a new phone scam where a man is calling senior citizens in the county claiming to be Lt. Johnson with their department.

Undersheriff David Pimentel tells us he is claiming that they have outstanding warrants and fines, and wants them to meet withhim in Montesano with cash to cover the warrants and fines. The calls are coming from 360 214-1541 or 360 214-1525.
This is a scam that preys on the elderly and the person identifying himself as Lt Johnson is in no way associated with the GHSO.
Pimentel said if you should receive a call like this do not respond and call the 911 center. If you have any information on who may be making these calls please contact Detective Darrin Wallace at the sheriff’s office.

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Allyn shooting leaves one dead, one in custody

Mason County Sheriff's Office

Detective William Adam tells us around 9:11 Thursday night, the Mason County Sheriff’s Office responded to a 9-1-1 call of a gunshot heard in the 1 to 100 block of E. Sherwood Lane, Allyn, WA.
The caller said that a woman had shot a man in the face, then fled on foot, and that the victim was laying unresponsive.

Arriving deputies found the 47 year old homeowner dead in front of his front door, the victim of an apparent gunshot wound to the face.
Deputies searched the area and found the suspect, lying in the back yard next door to the victim’s residence. The 34 year old Shelton woman was taken into custody and transported to the Mason County Jail without incident, booked for investigation of murder with a firearm.
Detectives located a firearm while serving a search warrant on the home. The victim is not being identified until his family can be notified.

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Luck, good timing, and good police work results in multiple arrests and the recovery of stolen property

Ocean Shores Police Department

A bit of luck, some good timing, and good police work resulted in multiple arrests and the recovery of stolen property in Ocean Shores last weekend.

Sgt. David McManus tells us on Sunday, July 13, Officer Paul Henderson arrested a 45-year old Ocean Shores man walking in the 700 block of Park Ave. NE in Ocean Shores for an assault that had occurred on the previous day. When searched, the man was found to have methamphetamine in his possession. The man was also carrying three bags full of items that Officer Henderson believed were stolen, especially after the man and a 21-year old who was with him told differing stories about where they obtained the items. However, at this point, the Officer could not prove that the items were stolen.

The 45-year old man was taken to the County Jail on the assault and drug charges, while the 21-year old was cited for Making a False Statement to a Public Servant and released.

Less than three hours later, a part-time resident of Ocean Shores came to the police station to report his house had been burglarized in the past two weeks. The property he reported stolen were the same items Officer Henderson had just seized, and the items were returned to the owner.

The next day, the 45-year old man was interviewed in the jail about the burglary. He stated that the 21-year old said he “got the stuff out of a house”. He said that the 21-year old gave him some items to trade for methamphetamine, and he had just done so right before being stopped by the officer.

Later the same night, the 21-year old suspect flagged down Ocean Shores PD Officer Clinton Potter and said he wanted to confess to the burglary. He was taken to jail.

Based on the information obtained in this investigation, a search warrant was obtained for the house where the drugs had allegedly been obtained. Evidence supporting the case was seized, and a 55-year old woman was arrested for Delivery of Controlled Substances.

The next day, another Ocean Shores resident reported that he had purchased some furniture from the 45-year old man, and he now suspected the furniture was stolen. The 45-year old suspect was interviewed once again, and he confessed to burglarizing a home and selling the furniture. That burglary had been reported to the police on July 12.

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Public comments accepted for oil spill contingency plan update

Washington State Department of Ecology

Ecology invites public review and comment on updated oil spill contingency plans.


Interested public, local and tribal governments are invited to review and comment on the interim updates to industry oil spill plans.  These interim updates are required by the recent changes to the state’s oil spill planning regulations.


Washington Administration Code (WAC) 173-182 requires oil handling facilities, pipelines and vessels to have a state-approved oil spill contingency plan that ensures their ability to respond to major oil spills.


These interim updates are for specific parts of vessel plans required to be updated 18 months from the effective date of the rule.  The required updates include requirements for:


  • Vessel of Opportunity Planning Standard – WAC 173-182-317 for Region 1.
  • Aerial Surveillance Planning Standard – WAC 173-182-321(1).
  • Dedicated on-water Storage – WAC 183-182-335.
  • 4 hour requirements for the San Juan County Planning Standard.
  • 4 hour requirements for the Neah Bay Staging Area.


The following plan is now available for public review:

Name of company: Washington State Maritime Cooperative (WSMC)

Review starts: July 18, 2014

Review Ends: August 18, 2014 at the close of business (5 p.m.)

Provide comments by email to [email protected] or by regular mail.


Find more information about how to view the plans and where to send your comments, please visit the Spills webpage at:


If you want to follow the approval process for each plan,click here. To track completed contingency plan reviews, click here.


Thank you for taking the time to provide us with your comments.  We will consider all comments and complete the review no later than 30 days after the close of the public review period.

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Washington Energy Department seeks businesses for energy-efficiency program

Washington Department of Ecology Energy Department

OLYMPIA – Fifty-four Washington businesses saved millions by reducing the amount of electricity and natural gas they use. These businesses increased their bottom lines by collaborating with Department of Ecology engineers in the Technical Resources for Engineering Efficiency (TREE) program.


Since 2008, Ecology has offered energy-efficiency consulting and is now seeking new projects for late 2014 through the first half of 2015. Participating businesses have collectively saved $2.78 million in annual energy savings from reducing electricity usage by 25 million kilowatt-hours and cutting natural gas consumption by 141 billion BTU. Taken together, those projects prevent 22,500 metric tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere every year.


Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee proposed a toxics reduction plan to help the state eliminate hazardous chemicals from our air and water by reducing impacts from unregulated sources, such as consumer products. Part of that proposal expands partnerships with industry to increase efficiency, save money, and reduce emissions and the use of toxic chemicals.


Gov. Inslee’s proposal builds on Ecology’s technical assistance services like the energy-efficiency program. Ecology also teams with businesses to prevent pollution, reduce toxic waste and emissions, and offer Lean and Green consulting. These programs work with a range of industries, such as metal finishing, production painting and coating operations, chemical blending, food processing, and most manufacturers.


Redhook Brewery in Woodinville recently partnered with Ecology. “We strive to make our beers in a manner that minimizes our environmental impact,” said Julia Pearson, sustainability manager. “We are continually searching for efficiency opportunities around our energy usage, and Ecology’s assistance was key this last year. The team helped us uncover some simple, quick fixes that translated into big dollar savings.”


Ecology also works with the Washington State University Extension Energy Program, Impact Washington, and local utilities to ensure businesses receive the services they need.


If your business could benefit from a professional energy audit, contact Tony Cooper at [email protected] or (360) 407-6338, or your local electric utility.

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Westport Aquarium responds to beached Porpoise calf

Westport Aquarium responds to beached Porpoise calf

Staff at the Westport Aquarium aided a harbor Porpoise calf that became stranded on the beach at the Schaefer Road access in Westport yesterday. Olympia scientists were contacted while Mark and Kathryn Mersell with the Westport Aquarium attempted to get the calf to swim on it’s own around 3 Wednesday afternoon. Marc tells us the calf had passed away by the time a scientist with Cascadia Research in Olympia arrived to take possession. A necropsy is scheduled for today, they believe the calf was about 4 days old.

The Westport Aquarium has been working with NOAA’s Regional Standing coordinators in Western Washington for years now, and is trained to handle stranded sea life. If you spot stranded sea life, do not handle them, please contact the West Coast Regional Stranding Coordinator for NOAA at 1-866-767-6114.

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