Table Mountain Fire Update 9-22-12
Incident: Table Mountain Wildfire
Yesterday, the Table Mountain Fire continued to back downslope with short upslope runs. There was some torching, which caused considerable ash fall in the afternoon. We are unable to update acreage this morning due to problems with the infrared flight.
Firefighters worked building and improving indirect line, burning out fuel between the fire line and the main fire where possible. The structure protection group prepped homes, cabins and other structures in the Liberty community and Liberty Mountain area, and along the southern flanks in the Green Creek, Reecer Creek and Sun East area. Structure protection crews worked on area burnout operations, and establishing lines on all divisions.
Fire activity was limited for most of the day by a temperature inversion: a layer of warm air in the upper atmosphere trapping cooler air near the ground. This trapped smoke at lower elevations, reducing visibility. As a result, air resources assigned to the fire were unable to fly.
A community meeting was held at the town of Liberty yesterday afternoon. Approximately 55 people attended the meeting. This was the third community meeting and the residents of Liberty were appreciative of the hard work of the firefighters and the ongoing communications by the team.
Today, the fire will continue to back downslope, burning actively where there are pockets of fuel within the perimeter. Crews will be working to identify contingency lines that will aid in the containment of the fire. Scouting is ongoing for potential control lines in the Naneum State Forest.
Fire management from Table Mountain Fire and the Wenatchee Complex met yesterday to develop a coordinated strategy as the Table Mountain and the Peavine Fires of the Wenatchee Complex are likely to burn together
The weather forecast is for continued warm and dry conditions, with increased humidity recovery overnight. A RED FLAG WARNING for dry lightning issued yesterday will continue through today. This could result in new fire starts with the potential for fire spread.
All evacuation levels from yesterday are still in place. Local road closures remain in effect on the south side of the fire. For updated information on evacuation levels and road closures, log onto the Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center website at http://www.co.kittitas.wa.us/.
The Red Cross Shelter at Mercer Creek Church remains open. The church is located at 407 North "B" Street in Ellensburg. The shelter can provide meals, toiletries, showers or other services, even for those who do not need to sleep there.
The animal evacuation shelter at the fairgrounds remains open. As of yesterday morning, there were 30 animals located at the shelter. Shelter staff can take calls from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday at 509-962-7639. If a need arises outside normal business hours, please call the Emergency Operations Center at 509-933-8305.
Effective yesterday afternoon, all State lands east of the Naneum State Forest line to the Columbia River are closed due to extreme fire hazard. This includes the Colockum, Quilomene and Whiskey Dick Wildlife Areas. Forest closures remain in place for the Naneum State Forest and the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest east of Highway 97.
US Highway 97 has been closed intermittently due to the fire situation. For the most updated information visit the WADOT website at http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/.
Road Closures: USFS and DNR roads - Reecer Creek Rd. at the Snowpack, Wilson Creek Rd. at the end of the county road, Coleman Canyon Rd., Schnebly Canyon Rd., and Cook Canyon Rd. Additional roads include - Liberty Rd., Williams Creek Rd., Harkness Rd., Pine Gulch Rd. east of Red Top Rd., Cougar Gulch Rd., Boulder Creek Rd., Upper Green Canyon Rd., Sun East Rd. at the top of Robbins Rd., and Elk Springs Rd.
Today, Type 2 Washington Interagency Incident Management Team 2 (Rex Reed, Incident Commander) will be transitioning with the Type 1 Pacific Northwest Team 2 (Mike Morcom, Incident Commander). The outgoing team wishes to thank the firefighters and the community for their hard work and support during their assignment on the Table Mountain Fire.