Table Mountain Fire News Release - 9/27/2012
Incident: Table Mountain Wildfire
Table Mountain Fire Update
Contact: Public Information Office - 206-947-9705 or 206-947-9737 (Hours of Operation: 7 am - 9 pm)
Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 9:00 am PDT Fire Status Update
Size: 37,677 acres
News & Events for the Table Mountain Fire:
• US Highway 97 will been closed intermittently or restricted access, due to the fire situation and burnout operations on the western edge of the fire. For the most updated information, visit the Washington Department of Transportation website at http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/
• The Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center announced a change in the evacuation levels. Current information on evacuations is available from the Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at http://www.co.kittitas.wa.us or 509-933-8305.
• Washington Department of Natural Resources reopened some state lands to the east of the Table Mountain Fire. State lands in the Naneum State Forest west of the Colockum Pass Road remain closed due to fire hazards.
• The Incident Command Post (ICP), previously located in Teanaway, has moved to Anderson Hay, located south of the Rotary Park in Ellensburg. Additional traffic and equipment on Hwy 97 can be expected for the duration of the incident.
• A travel route for fire equipment has been planned to minimize impacts to local traffic. Today, local law enforcement will assist with traffic flow at the intersection of Hwy 97 and West University Way. Local residents can expect additional traffic from 6:30-7:30 a.m. and 5:30-7:30 p.m. daily.
• The Table Mountain Fire offers information on social media sites which are listed on the right under Related Incident Links.
Table Mountain Fire Operations Summary:
• Crews have secured and strengthened containment lines on the western flank of the fire in preparation for an aerial burn out operation that will begin today and be completed over the next few days as weather and fire behavior conditions permit.
• The fire is expected to continue slowly backing down in areas of grass or other low vegetation, with more intense burning of single or groups of trees in forested areas.
• Night shift firefighters continue to patrol and remain available for initial attack response if needed.
Firefighters will begin a multi-day burnout operation along the west side of the fire using a combination of aerial and hand ignition. The aerial ignition will take place in areas high on the slopes that are inaccessible to firefighters. The burnout is designed to secure the western edge of the fire above the community of Liberty and south of Liberty Mountain. As the burnout progresses smoke will be heavy in some areas, but smoke should diminish as operations are completed.
Today fire fighters will complete burn out operations on the northwest corner of the fire in coordination with the Wenatchee Complex. The residents along the Highway 97 corridor can expect to see an increase in smoke during the afternoon and evening hours. Firefighters continued to make excellent progress using dozers and hand crews to secure and mop up the southern and eastern perimeter of the fire. Fire fighters will focus efforts to tie in Wilson Creek drainage today and secure the perimeter on the eastern flank.
Staffing for night operations has increased and will continue to patrol, hold, and mop up containment lines with a focus on the area of Liberty where the aerial ignition has occurred. For tonight night operations will include two crews and 16 engines.
Closures: Local road closures remain in effect; go to the Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center, Inciweb or the Okangon-Wenatchee National Forest website http://www.fs.usda.gov/okawen for current road and area closure information.
Area Closures: As of September 26, 2012, all State lands east of the Naneum State Forest line to the Colockum Pass Road is closed due to fire hazards. 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, or restricted access, due to the fire situation. For the most updated information, visit the Washington Department of Transportation website at http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/
Forest Service and Department of Natural Resource Road Closures: Reecer Creek Road at the Sno-park, 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.
Red Cross Shelter: The 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 stay overnight.
Animal Shelter: Evacuated livestock and temporary housing for small pets available until a vet clinic can be found for providing long-term care. There is 30 livestock currently housed at the shelter for this purpose. Shelter staff are taking calls from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday at 509-962-7639. If a need arises outside of normal business hours, please call the Emergency Operations Center at 509-933-8305.
Table Mountain Fire: Started: September 8, 2012 Cause: lightning Location: Cle Elum, WA/Kittitas County Resources: A total of 1,261 personnel are assigned to the fire, including 28 crews, 6 helicopters, 76 engines, 10 dozers and 19 water tenders.
RESOURCE CONCERNS: Multiple historic cabins, archaeological sites, mines, threatened and endangered species, old growth reserves.
WEATHER: High Pressure will continue to prevail over the area today with dry conditions continuing with winds from the west to northwest. Drier air is expected this evening on ridge tops with lower humidity, but good humidity recovery is expected at lower elevations. Maximum temperature is predicted at 79 degrees at lower elevations. Relative humidity is predicted at 21-28% for lower elevations and 28-36% at high elevation. Downslope winds will be 3-6 mph becoming upslope 3-7 mph after 11:00 AM. Ridgetop winds from the west will become northwest 4-8 mph with gusts to 12 mph.
WEATHER OUTLOOK: A warming and drying trend is predicted for the next couple of days, with mostly cloudy to partly cloudy conditions. Areas of smoke are expected in the valleys, especially in the mornings. A weak cold front will move through the incident Friday night into Saturday and this may kick of a couple of isolated showers.
TODAY’S EXPECTED FIRE BEHAVIOR: Upslope winds on the northwest flank of the fire will continue to aid burnout operations. On the west side the fire is expected to continue slowly backing down. On the southwest flank, backing fire with short, intense runs uphill are expected when the smoke lifts. On the east flank the fire is expected to continue slowly backing down and crews will begin mop up.
COOPERATING AGENCIES & PARTNERS: Washington Department of Natural Resources, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington State Fire Marshall, Kittitas County Fire Districts #1, #2, #7, Kittitas County Sheriff, Yakima County Sheriff, National Guard Resources, British Columbia Wildfire and the Okanagon-Wenatchee National Forest.
For satellite imagery that shows smoke from fires in the area go to the following link: http://sat.wrh.noaa.gov/satellite/loopsat.php wfo=otx&area=west&type=vis&size=1