USA – WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Reps Dan Newhouse and Cathy McMorris Rodgers are urging President Joe Biden to approve a Major Disaster Declaration for the Colville Confederated Tribes following extreme wildfires this year.
If approved, public assistance would be available to remove debris, rebuild roads and bridges and address recovery efforts on the Colville Indian Reservation. Both Newhouse and McMorris Rodgers sent a letter to Biden this week.
“The Colville Indian Reservation sustained damage from five uncontrolled fires that burned between July and September,” the two Washington lawmakers wrote. “The Chuweah Creek and Summit Trail Fires grew quickly and merged with smaller fires. When they were finally contained, another storm system passed through the region and ignited an additional blaze on Reservation lands. Despite full mutual aid response from surrounding fire districts, the CCT lost major power and communications infrastructure, primary homes, outbuildings, and vehicles and equipment. Now, much of the Reservation is at risk of flooding and erosion.”
The lawmakers say the damaged sustained from the summer wildfires is beyond the capacity of the Colville Tribes to address on their own.
The Colville Reservation was closed to the public from July 13 to the end of August due to extreme fire conditions. A state of emergency was also declared due to multiple large wildfires.