(Cle Elum, WA) Firefighters on the Taylor Bridge Fire made good progress on the line yesterday and overnight. Along the northern border of the fire where steep and rugged terrain has been most difficult for fire crews, crews are using existing roads, natural barriers and dozer work to strengthen containment lines.
Extensive air operations were conducted throughout the day in an effort to minimize flare-ups and stop fire runs. Resources include four Type I Helicopters, two Type II Helicopters, with two additional helicopters and air tankers available for initial attack purposes. The first infrared flight was conducted late last night, using heat detection devices that map and identify hotspots over the fire area.
Today, fire crews will focus efforts on the northern perimeter between Lambert Road and Hidden Valley Road in preparation for potential burnout operations once weather conditions become more stable. Fallers will continue work to drop dangerous trees, reducing hazards to firefighters.
With 40 miles of fire perimeter, mop-up operations will continue for several days on the Taylor Bridge Fire. Mop-up operations include extinguishing burning material and falling snags, and patrolling and checking for hotspots within the fire footprint. Mop-up standards will be dictated by fuel conditions and terrain. Preliminary mop-up distances will be 300 feet from the fire perimeter. Around structures mop-up distances will be 300 feet within the grasslands and 500 feet in forested areas.
The National Weather Service in Spokane has issue a Red Flag Warning for continued very hot, dry and unstable conditions over the next two days. With temperatures reaching 90 to 100 degrees, fire activity is expected to increase and significant threat to structures remains a concern.
As of 7:00 a.m. this morning, the evacuation levels for all of the Sunlight Waters community only has been reduced to a Level 2 Notice. Only local traffic and residents will be allowed into the area at this time. The WA Incident Management Team continues to work closely with local emergency services personnel to assess when residents can safely reenter the burn area.
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 fire reaching the area. Access back into the area may be limited at this point.
Fire officials urge residents and the publicreentering the fire area to use extreme caution. Utilities and power lines may have been damaged in the fire and the public should assume the power lines could been ergized and cause injury or death. If you return to your home and find you do not have electricity, please report the outage to the appropriate power company: Puget Sound Energy at 1-888-225-5773or Kittitas County Public Utilities #1 at (509) 933-7200.
ROAD CLOSURES: Hart Rd at Taylor Rd; Lambert Rd at Taylor Rd; Hidden Valley Rd at Hidden Valley Terrace Rd; SR97 at the SR970/Lauderdale junction; SR97 at Ellensburg Ranches Rd; SR10 at the SR10 & SR97 junction.
COMMUITY MEETINGS PLANNEDFOR TONIGHT
In Cle Elum at 4:00 PM CleElum/Roslyn High School Gymnasium 2692 SR 903
In Ellensburg at 7:00 PM CentralWashington University Student Union Rec. Center Ballroom 400 East University Way
For additional information on the fire situation and available resources to residents who have fire losses, we encourage the public to attend.