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One person confirmed dead as Carlton Complex wildfires continue to grow

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Fire TwispALTA LAKE — Stephanie Petersen and Sue Keezer are best friends; friends who sadly now share a common tragedy.

Both of their homes in the Alta Lake community were destroyed by the Carlton Complex Wildfires.

“It all burned down. Our retirement home that we looked forward to spending our older years in and it’s gone,” fire victim Sue Keezer said.

“We’re just really sad, sorry. It was eight years of love. We built it together. We never thought in a million years this community would go up. I’m just shocked,” Fire victim Stephanie Petersen said.

The fire moved so fast.. Only giving them enough time to save themselves.. They lost everything.

Sadly they are not alone; dozens of homes were destroyed in the neighborhood along with much of the golf course.

The fires have grown overnight and throughout the day propelled by hot weather, dry brush and high winds.

Emergency management officials say on person has died as a result of the fire.

The victim was a former Marine and former Washington State Trooper.

He is believed to have had a heart attack while trying to save his home from fire.

Nearly 300 thousand acres have burned.

Some 1000 homes are in the path of the fires and varying levels of evacuation orders have been issued.

Nearly 1400 people are fighting this fire, some from as far away as Mexico.

100 National Guard troops are on the front lines and as many as a thousand more are on the way.

The other major issue is power outages and communication problems.

So far the fire has destroyed as many as 500-utility poles, cutting power and phone service.

For line crews the days are long and the work is hard.

“We’re working in the dust and the dirt and when the wind kicks up it’s pretty nasty. We start at five in the morning and we go to 11, 12 at night,” Okanogan PUD crew chief George Webster said.

Many of those who live in the area tell me they wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

Even though they’ve lost everything they say it’s not an ending. It’s a new beginning.

“We’re going to build again for sure,” Petersen said.

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