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Taylor Bridge Fire at 90% containment; full containment expected by Friday

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Taylor Bridge Fire at 90% containment; full containment expected by Friday

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August 22, 2012

(Cle Elum, WA) Residents should contact the Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) 509-933-8305, to verify whether their home falls under the reduced emergency level or www.co.kittitas.wa.us to view a current map.  The Lauderdale junction area north of SR970 was reduced to a Level 1.  All areas outside the fire footprint in the Hidden Valley and  Emerick Road area have been reduced to a Level 2 (Residents Only).  Check in at the roadblock at Hidden Valley Road and deputies will be onsite to determine if your residence is accessible and in the Level 2 area.  SR970 and SR97 also remain open.  Beginning August 24th the public information phones will be disconnected at the Taylor Bridge Fire Camp.  After that date, Inciweb and email will no longer be updated.  All requests for information should be directed to the Kittitas County EOC.

Emergency levels are as follows:

Level 1:           This is an initial notification in person to inform the residents of the situation, and the process which may follow.

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 3:           The fire is in the area, people are to leave immediately.  Access to the area is restricted.

Fire crews had a successful day working on the control line in the northern edge of the fire with an estimated containment date of August 24, 2012.  A half-acre spot fire was located inside the containment line due to the high wind gusts.  Fire crews suppressed it quickly.  Due to predicted high winds across the fire, crews need to be aware of flying debris and hazard trees from the high winds.  Crews continue working on erosion control in the interior of the fire control lines.  Fire patrols are continuing around the clock.  To date there is approximately 130,000 feet of hose used, 182,000 gallons of retardant dropped from fixed wing airplanes and 1.9 million gallons of water dropped from helicopters.

Today the target is securing up along the perimeter, continue finishing and improving the control lines, burnout along the northern portion of the fire line and protect structures.  Mop-up is continuing and a systematic sweep of the burn area is being conducted in the fire footprint.    The Kittitas County Department of Emergency Management is actively inspecting structures in the burn area.  Handheld Thermal Detection devices continue to be utilized to detect hot spots.

Expected weather for today is for mostly sunny, breezy with highs in the mid 70’s.  West to northwest winds 8-16 mph with gusts to 20 mph early, increasing to 30 mph in the afternoon.  Relative humidity 30-40 percent.  Tonight mainly clear and breezy, west to northwest winds 8-16 mph with gusts to 25 mph.  Relative humidity 70-90 percent.  Temperature 44-52 degrees.

Mop-up standards are dictated by fuel type and terrain. Crews conducting mop-up operations are working to ensure that fuels are removed from around structures and there are no hot spots inside of the fire edge.

Representatives from the American Red Cross and Central Washington Comprehensive Mental Health will continue to assess the situation and provide support to residents in the areas of evacuation. For more information, please contact the Kittitas County EOC at 509-933-8305, or www.co.kittitas.wa.us

Two emergency shelters continue to be open for displaced residents:  Cle Elum Centennial Senior Center, 719 E. Third Street in Cle Elum, (509) 674-7530, and Central Washington University – Munson Dorms, 400 E. University Way, (509) 963-1141, in Ellensburg, Washington.  For questions or assistance regarding displaced animals please contact Kittitas County EOC at 509-933-8305.

Public and firefighter safety is the top priority on the Taylor Bridge fire. The public is urged to stay clear from the road closure area and to minimize traffic on roads accessed by fire crews.  Fire danger remains high across Washington State.  The USFS has a campfire ban outside of wilderness areas in effect. Check www.fs.usda.gov/okawen for further information. Be sure to check with your fire agencies for local fire restrictions.

The Incident Management Team would like to express their thanks to the public for their continued support and co-operation during this very stressful incident.

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