Table Mountain Fire News Release - 9/29/2012
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)
News & Events for the Table Mountain Fire:
• Fire Information will be available at the Ellensburg Farmers Market and throughout the Buskers in the Burg Fall Festival event in downtown Ellensburg.
• The community is invited to come and tour the Incident Command Post set up at Anderson Hay, tomorrow, Sunday, 30, 2012 between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.
• Hunting Season opened today. Please be advised that 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.
• Travelers on US 97 need to be prepared for restricted access, closures, and delays from 970 to Wenatchee as conditions change, please check WSDOT website for current information: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ or call 511.
• Residents can expect an increase in smoke throughout the weekend due to firing operations, o 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.
Table Mountain Fire Operations Summary:
• Firefighters are preparing for a wind event during the next several days as a dry cold front moves through the area. No moisture is forecasted with the front and winds are expected to increase with gusts of up to 30 mph.
• Fire weakened trees in combination with increased winds could pose a health and safety concern. Precautions will be taken to mitigate the risk to firefighters within these areas.
• A combination of aerial and hand ignition in coordination with the multi-day burn out was successful yesterday afternoon as prevailing winds, increased sun exposure, and drier fine fuels allowed for optimum burning conditions.
• Crews will continue today to secure the burnout operations and continue with aerial and hand ignition on the western flank of the fire between the communities of Liberty and Liberty Mountain, east of US97.
• On the north, south, and eastern flanks of the fire crews will concentrate their efforts on mopping up 100’ feet from the fires edge, patrol, and burnout when necessary to secure fire lines.
• Structure protection continues in Liberty and will mop up in Reecer Creek. 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 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 1,477 personnel are assigned to the fire, including 39 crews, 7 helicopters, 85 engines, 9 dozers and 25 water tenders.
RESOURCE CONCERNS: Multiple historic cabins, archaeological sites, mines, threatened and endangered species, old growth reserves.
WEATHER: High pressure will build into the area today and this will continue through the weekend. Gusty winds are likely in Kittitas Valley including Ellensburg and the ICP today through tonight. Humidity recoveries will be marginal at the ridges tonight, but good in the valleys. High pressure will continue on Sunday and Monday but a strong cold front will move through Tuesday, bringing the potential for critical fire weather conditions. No rainfall is anticipated through mid week. Maximum temperature is predicted at 79 degrees at lower elevations. Relative humidity is predicted at 29-36% for lower elevations and 36-42% at high elevation. Downslope winds will be 3-6 mph becoming upslope 4-8 mph after 11:00 AM. Ridgetop winds from the west will become northwest 7-9 mph with gusts to 15 mph.
WEATHER OUTLOOK: Mostly sunny becoming partly cloudy, with areas of valley smoke in the morning and patchy valley smoke in the afternoon. Temperatures highs 74-79, minimum humidity’s
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 text message updates via Twitter (no Twitter account is necessary). Send a text message to 40404 and in the body of the message simply write “Follow TableMtnWAFire” (without the quotation marks). You’ll receive a reply from 40404 confirming your request and noting instructions to stop messages when you no longer need them. Standard message rates will apply.
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