Table Mountain Fire News Release - 9/28/2012
Incident: Table Mountain Wildfire
News & Events for the Table Mountain Fire:
· Travelers on US 97 need to be prepared for closures and delays from 970 to Wenatchee, please check WSDOT website for current information: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/
· Residents can expect an increase in smoke throughout the weekend due to firing operations
- For more information regarding Air Quality refer to the following websites: http://wasmoke.blogspot.com - http://www.ecy.wa.gov
· The Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center announced a change in the evacuation levels on Wednesday, September 26, 2012. Current information on evacuations is available from the Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at 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. This includes the Colockum, Quilomene and Whiskey Dick's Wildlife Areas.
· State lands in the Naneum State Forest west of the Colockum Pass Road remain closed due to fire hazards.
· 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.
Table Mountain Fire Operations Summary:
· Yesterday, crews used aerial ignition to start a multi-day burnout operation along the ridgelines around Cougar Gulch, east of US97. Crews monitored the area throughout the night and day crews are prepared to continue the burnout operations today as conditions allow. For Friday, burning conditions should be more favorable for aerial ignition due to the inversion layer lifting earlier in the morning.
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.
· Eastern Flank primarily the areas of Washington Department of Natural Resources lands have been lined and are in mop up stage.
· The burnout operation completed in coordination with the Wenatchee Complex on the northern portion of the fire adjacent to US97 was successful and crews will continue to monitor, patrol, and mop up the perimeter.
· Night shift firefighters continue to patrol and monitor fire activity within in the areas of Liberty and Liberty Mountain. Two hand crews and 18 engines have been assigned to work throughout the night to secure and patrol fire perimeter. Crews are also available for initial attack response if needed.
Firefighters will continue aerial and hand ignition burnout operations along the west side of the fire. The aerial ignition will take place in areas high on the slopes near Cougar Gulch, south of the community of Liberty Mountain. The burnout is designed to secure the western edge of the fire above the community of Liberty and Liberty Mountain. As the burnout progresses smoke will be heavy in some areas, but smoke should diminish as operations are completed.
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 27, 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 Last Updated: 9/28/2012 4:26 AM From milepost 150 to milepost 177: US 97 Both Directions - US 97 Blewett Pass is closed from milepost 150, at the junction with SR970, to milepost 177, eight miles south of the junction with US 2, at the Big Y, due to fire activity in the area. 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., Liberty Mountain Association., 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.
FIRE FACTS: Table Mountain Fire: Started: September 8, 2012 Cause: lightning Location: Cle Elum, WA/Kittitas County Resources: A total of 1,479 personnel are assigned to the fire, including 37 crews, 7 helicopters, 87 engines, 10 dozers and 21 water tenders.
RESOURCE CONCERNS: Multiple historic cabins, archaeological sites, mines, threatened and endangered species, old growth reserves.
WEATHER: A cold front will approach the fire today and this will result in an increase in clouds and also an increase in the winds at the ridge tops. The front will bring slightly cooler temperatures on Saturday but the winds at the ridges will be lighter. Gusty winds are likely in the Kittitas Valley including Ellensburg and the Incident Command Post Friday evening through Saturday. Humidity recoveries will be marginal in the ridges tonight, but good in the valleys. No rainfall is anticipated through the weekend into early next week. Maximum temperatures are predicted at 74-79 degrees at lower elevations. Relative humidity is predicted at 28-34% for lower elevations and 34-38% at high elevation. Downslope winds will be 3-6 mph becoming upslope 4-8 mph after 11:00 AM. Ridge top winds from the west, northwest will become northwest 4-8 mph with gusts to 12 mph.
WEATHER OUTLOOK: Mostly cloudy with areas of valley smoke in the morning and patchy valley smoke in the afternoon.
TODAY'S EXPECTED FIRE BEHAVIOR: Smoke and cloud cover will continue to have an effect on surface fuels and shading. When smoke lifts high clouds should continue to limit spread in fine fuels however, heavy fuels will continue to burn actively with the increased winds. Wind gust could produce flare ups in heavier fuels that could lead to torching. Although most of the grass/brush areas in the upper elevations have not carried much fire the lower elevations will carry fire.
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