Historical Okanogan Co. area hit hard by wildfire




Posted on July 22, 2014 at 11:41 AM

OKANOGAN, Wash. -- The small community, known as the Chillowest in Okanogan County, was hit hard by the Carlton Complex fire. About one third of the homes in the historical area were destroyed.

The people in this area not only lost their homes and barns but several cattle died as well along with much of the wildlife.

READ: Carlton Complex evacuations expand and close Highway 20

Brian Smith lived in the area. He said he could hear the fire heading his way.

“You could hear the fire. It sounded like a jet. And that’s what kind of spooked us,” said Smith.

He was advised to leave but he stayed and was able to save his home.  It is in an area he cares deeply about.

MORE: When will federal help come to fire victims?

The Chillowest is one of the most historic areas of Okanogan County. Native Americans used a trail through the area for more than 3,000 years.

Jim Chochran lives in the Chillowest as well. He said he will miss the animals, like bear and deer that lived there.


“We have an abundance of wildlife here. It’s a private community but you’re close to town. This was one of the greenest areas around here,” said Chochran.

The hardest part for many people is that Chillowest will never look the same.