Roads, homes damaged by Washington mudslides

  • Associated Press
  • August 22, 2014 - 2:45 AM

TWISP, Wash. — A north-central Washington area hit hard by recent wildfires was battered by thunderstorms that caused flash flooding and mudslides, damaging roadways and homes and stranding some motorists, authorities said.

By late Thursday night, the rain was easing, Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said. There were no reports of injuries.

Rogers said he heard "a couple" of homes along State Highway 153 near Twisp were damaged.

Five to 12 vehicles were marooned on Highway 153 by mud and slides, Washington State Patrol Trooper Darren Wright said. Troopers and sheriff's deputies worked late Thursday night to get the people out and leave the cars temporarily.

Mud and debris prompted the temporary closure of an eight-mile stretch of Highway 153 and a 25-mile section of State Highway 20, both in Okanogan County, the state Transportation Department said.

Wright said a small mudslide in nearby Douglas County blocked U.S. Highway 97 south of Chelan.

While the Carlton Complex wildfires that burned across more than 400 square miles are in mop-up stage, about 500 people are still assigned to fight them and nearby wildfires.

Flash flooding and strong winds hit the Carlton fire camp and incident command post Thursday night, the National Park Service reported. All workers were accounted for and reportedly had dry places to sleep.

More than an inch of rain was reported in one hour near Twisp in an area burned by the Carlton Complex fires, National Weather Service meteorologist Matthew Fugazzi said.

"In those burned-out areas, every time we get a heavy rain" the flash flood risk exists, Rogers said. With the vegetation burned off the ground, "there's nothing to hold it, the water just sloughs off."

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