‘I’m still praying and hoping we get to go back’: Families flee their homes as wildfire tears through Nespelem

NESPELEM, Wash. — “I started getting emotional. I start crying and I’m like, ‘Come on, please pray.’”

Relying on prayers to persevere — that’s how Barbara Cox is trying to move forward after fleeing her home in Nespelem with her 20-month old daughter.

“In the last 30 years, I haven’t seen a fire like this,” said Cox.

Her daughter has asthma and Barbara isn’t sure when she’ll be able to go back home.

“I just don’t want my daughter around that, because breathing in all that black smoke is making her health a lot worse,” said Cox.

She’s one of hundreds displaced by fires started by lightning that fire crews still haven’t been able to get under control. So far, 10,000 acres have burned — more than 15 square miles. High winds, brush, trees and extremely dry conditions are making the task even harder.

“I’m still praying and hoping we get to go back up there in the next day or so,” said Carolyn Francis.

She is also staying at the Coulee House Hotel. She was evacuated from the Colville Tribal Convalescence Center with many other seniors.

RELATED: Colville Tribes declare state of emergency due to area wildfires

“It is scary, and knowing that it can ruin everything in just a matter of time,” said Francis.

As they wait, they’re passing the time however they can. Whether it’s finding a moment of laughter with her daughter or reflecting on what they’ve been through, hoping the fire that forced them from their homes doesn’t happen again.

“I hope one day she doesn’t have to do this again,” said Francis.

Something Cox was really worried about was the livestock. She’s devastated that so much wildlife will be lost in this fire. Officials say several livestock, horses and wildlife were severely injured and many had to be euthanized. Firefighters say this fire is still 0% contained.

RELATED: ‘This is it. This is all I grabbed’: Nespelem residents leave behind everything to escape fires