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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I am very saddened by the recent wildfires in Chelan and the surrounding communities. After the one-year anniversary of the Carlton Complex Fire last month and the Sleepy Hollow Fire in Wenatchee in late June, my hope was that the fire destruction would end. Unfortunately, the recent dry conditions, high winds and lightning strikes have proven to be a terrible mix for the Lake Chelan area and other areas in Douglas and Okanogan counties.
My family's thoughts and prayers continue to go out to those who have lost homes and businesses and to the courageous first responders who have been working so hard to protect these and other structures. Following tragedies, I often travel to affected areas to attend community meetings and to connect with those who have been impacted. I have also been discussing the ongoing firefighting effort with sheriff deputies, firefighters and other emergency personnel. When you see them, please thank them for their service.
Many times the very people affected by these tragedies are the ones who boost my spirits. This was the case when Gov. Inslee, Mrs. Inslee and I met with Brett and Beverly LaMar (shown in the photo) who own Lake Chelan Building Supply. Their Chelan store was completely destroyed. Their optimism and eagerness to rebuild and to come back stronger was inspiring. I am also inspired by the Chelan PUD, Frontier Communications, and other utility crews working tirelessly in difficult conditions to restore services to our communities. Members of the Washington National Guard have also been mobilized to the area, which is appreciated. The people of North Central Washington have endured a great deal in recent months but have remained courageous, strong and resilient.
As the fires continue to burn, I urge everyone to stay safe and to follow the guidance of the trained personnel assisting us. Once the smoke eventually clears, the rebuilding will begin. There will certainly be current and longer-term economic impacts from these fires. For communities like Chelan whose economy is so connected to tourism, my hope is for people across our great state to visit Chelan this fall and experience its beautiful lake – and amazing people.
My prayers go to all those impacted.
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