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'We really thought this place was going to be lost': Members of the Colville Confederated Tribe pray for their community

With prayer and faith, Dan Nanamkin and his family hope the sky with clear soon and flames will cease.

NESPELEM, Wash. — The Chuweah Creek Fire near Nespelem in Okanogan County has destroyed thousand of acres and at least 14 buildings on the Colville Reservation.

Dan Nanamkin and his family have held prayer gatherings for the protection of his community and the fire crews. 

He invited KREM 2's Amanda Roley to witness this sacred ceremony on Wednesday. 

“Our prayers are connected to the wind and to the safety of our people, to their wellbeing and to their health," Nanamkin said. 

Nanamkin's niece and nephew joined him to sing their song of healing for those who have lost their homes in the fire.

In the distance, the wildfire smoke billows.  

“It’s devastating, you see it’s burning up our trees and our wildlife,"  Montee Nelson, Nanamkin's nephew, said. 

But they stand on the ground that the fire nearly swallowed just days ago praying for the protection of their community and fire fighters.  

"My niece and my nephew were here with me and it was pretty terrifying," Nanamkin said. "At one point, we really thought this place was going to be lost. It came right up to us here and surrounded us here. We’re really grateful to the fire fighters. So we pray for their protection and their wellbeing."

With prayer and faith, Dan and his family hope the sky with clear soon and flames will cease.

Level 1 and 2 evacuations remain in place for the town of Nespelem, the Colville Indian Agency, residents at Owhi Flats along Cache Creek Road and residents in Buffalo Lake and McGinnis Lake. Level 1 evacuations are an alert to residents about danger in their area while Level 2 evacuations mean residents should be ready to evacuate.