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Taylor Bridge Fire crews concentrating efforts on northern edge

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Taylor Bridge Fire crews concentrating efforts on northern edge

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August 20, 2012

(Cle Elum, WA) Emergency notification levels were reduced in the area South of SR970, along Lambert Rd. and Hidden Valley Rd. effective at 7:00 p.m. last night. Residents should contact the Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center 509-933-8305 to verify whether their homes fall under the reduced emergency level or www.co.kittitas.wa.us to view a current map. SR970 and SR97 remain open.

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.

Saturday night a weather disturbance moved from the south into Washington with enough instability to produce isolated lightning n the area.

Sunday fire crews continued to provide structure protection and made good progress reinforcing the fire perimeter along the entire northern edge of the fire. Weather conditions and the presence of erratic winds made conditions unfavorable for initiating any burnouts in the northwest portion of the fire south of SR970 yesterday.

Today fire crews are still concentrating their efforts along the northern edge of the fire. Fuel reduction burnouts began at 9 a.m. this morning and residents should expect to see an increase in smoke levels in the Lookout Mountain area. The big concern today is wind. The forecast is for winds to initially be light to moderate this morning, increasing this afternoon with gusts from 15-20 miles per hour.

Mop-up continues along the eastern flanks of the fire and the southeast half of the fire has now been contained. Mop-up standards are dictated by fuel type and terrain. Crews conducting mop-up ensure that fuels are removed and there are no hot spots 300 feet to the inside of the fire edge. Structure protection crews are performing mop-up 300 feet around all structures in areas that are predominantly sagebrush and grasses, and 500 feet around structures within forested fuel types. The mop-up standard of 500 feet is equivalent to 18.3 acres cleared around each structure.

Increasing clouds are expected to develop tonight with scattered showers and thunderstorms developing, mainly after midnight.

Representatives from the American Red Cross and Comprehensive Medical 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 Emergency Operations Center 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. Livestock and small animals have also been evacuated to the Kittitas County Fairground in Ellensburg, Washington.

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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