(Cle Elum, WA) The Taylor Bridge Fire started on Monday, August 13, at approximately 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon. The fire is burning 4 miles southeast of Cle Elum and 4 miles northwest of Ellensburg, Washington. The fire is approximately 17 miles long and burning in grassland, sage brush, and timber.
The wind driven fire moved rapidly through several communities with local initial attack resources from WA DNR and Kittitas County Fire Districts 1, 7, Kittitas Valley Fire and Rescue, and one Forest Service engine diligently working to fight the fire.
By 5:00 p.m. on August 13, a Level 3 evacuation order was given by the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office for the following areas: Bettas Valley, and homes on the west side of State Route (SR) 97 between SR97 and Swauk. Additional evacuations are now in place for Sun Light Waters, the Hidden Valley area, and from Elk Springs Road east to Robbins Road. Road closures include: SR97 at SR10 to Lauderdale Junction, SR10 from Taylor Road to SR97 Junction.
Evacuation levels are as follows:
Level 3: The fire is in the area, people are to leave immediately. Access to the area is restricted.
Level 2: At this point we request people consider leaving the area, or be ready to leave at a moment’s notice due to the high possibility of the fire reaching the area. Access back into the area may be limited at this point.
Level 1: This is an initial notification in person to inform the residents of the situation, and the process which may follow.
Two emergency shelters are set up at the following locations: Cle Elum Centennial Senior Center, 719 E. Third Street in Cle Elum, and Central Washington University – Munson Dorms, 400 E. University Way in Ellensburg, Washington. Livestock has also been evacuated to the Kittitas County Fairground in Ellensburg, Washington.
Approximately 28,077 acres are now burned with several unburned islands within the fire perimeter. The Kittitas County Emergency Operation Center reported 60 primary structures lost at this time. The fire danger is being assessed and once conditions are safe, homeowners will be allowed to return to their homes. No containment on this fire has been reported.
The fire is under unified command, and includes agencies from WA Department of Natural Resource (WA DNR), Kittitas County Fire District 1, 2, and 7. Washington State mobilization was authorized at 3:30 p.m. deploying firefighting resources to the Taylor Bridge Fire. Incident Commander Rex Reed and members of the Washington Incident Management Team 2 assumed command of the fire at 8:00 a.m. today.
The fire started along Highway 10 at the Taylor Road junction where the bridge was being rebuilt. The fire was caused during the construction project.
Two community meetings have been planned for Wednesday, August 15:
In Cle Elum at 4:00 PM Cle Elum/Roslyn High School Gymnasium
2692 SR 903
In Ellensburg at 7:00 PM Central Washington University Student Union Recreation Room
400 East University Way
The Washington Incident Management Team 2 appreciates your support and patience while firefighters work to manage the Taylor Bridge Fire. No injuries have been reported on this fire.