'Can't Breathe, Can't See': Struggling to Live Through Wildfires
The impact of wildfires lasts well beyond the time when the last ember is extinguished. Communities are affected, as are individuals and industries. Nearly every segment of tribal life is affected and some will continue to be for years to come.
Jackie Richter on the Colville Reservation talks of the North Star Fire and how life has changed already and what she foresees. “Most of the time our visibility has been about 200 yards and on Tuesday it was more like 100 feet. You can’t hardly drive it’s so bad. Everyone is exhausted because we’re having to work so hard just to breathe. Many of us, including me, have been evacuated at one point or another. It’s been catastrophic up here. There’s not a corner of this county that fire hasn’t touched. It’s a large county, one of the largest in the nation. Our elders talk about never seeing anything like it.