Emergency 911 calls must be made by cell phone or to local police

**Filed 3/7/16 @ 10 a.m.**

By Marcy Stamper

People in the Methow Valley can make phone calls on landlines only to other landlines in the Methow Valley and can also only get incoming calls from other landlines in the valley.

Because the outage affects long-distance calls, it means people cannot call 911 from a landline, according to Okanogan County Emergency Manager Maurice Goodall.

People can call 911 and in and out of the valley on cell phones. Anyone with an emergency but no access to a cell phone is advised to call the local police departments, in Winthrop at 996-2160 or Twisp at 997-6112.

The phone outage affects all landlines north of Black Canyon, where fiber-optic cables that carry long-distance service have apparently been damaged, according to Goodall. The outage was first reported on Sunday evening (March 6), he said.

Road crews have been digging in that area to install a temporary culvert to deal with a mudslide that closed the state Highway 153 early Sunday.

The phone company is on site and working to repair the problem. They estimate it will be fixed around 2 p.m. Monday (March 7), said Goodall.