Table Mountain Fire Forces Evacuations, Forest Closures

UPDATE: 12:45 P.M. – Wednesday, 9/26/2012 – Evacuation Levels Updated:

Kittitas County, WA – The Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center reduced some evacuation levels and coordinated the reopening of some state lands in the Table Mountain Fire area, effective 12pm today.

  • The Level 3 notification has been downgraded to Level 2 for Elk Springs Road above the northern-most set of power lines, and the area encompassing Upper Green Canyon Road east to Wilson Creek Road between the northern-most set of power lines and the southern boundary line of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.  These areas are accessible to local traffic and residents only.
  • Evacuation Level 3 remains in place for the areas within the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest that are accessed by Upper Green Canyon Road, Reecer Creek Road north of the upper snow park, and Wilson Creek Road.
  • The Level 1 notification has been removed and there are no restrictions from the lower portion of Upper Green Canyon Road southeast to Chukar Ridge Road and continuing southeast to Charlton Road.  This includes Reecer Creek Road 1/2 mile south of the power lines, Robbins Road north of Chukar Ridge Road, Wilson Creek Road north of Charlton Road and Naneum Road north of Charlton Road.  The area south of the Lauderdale junction to Elk Springs Road is also no longer under the Level 1 notification and has no restrictions.
  • Also effective at 12pm today, state lands have been reopened east of the Naneum State Forest to the Columbia River.  This includes the Colockum, Quilomene and Whiskey Dick wildlife areas.
  • The Naneum State Forest and Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest (east of US97 to the Naneum State Forest) remain closed.
  • In the Liberty area, level 3 evacuations are still in place for Williams Creek Road, Harkness Road, Pine Gulch Road east of Red Top Road, Cougar Gulch Road, Boulder Creek Road and Liberty Mountain Association.
  • A Level 2 Evacuation notification remains in place for Liberty Road from US97 to Boulder Creek Road (the end of the county road), this includes the town of Liberty and any driveways directly connected to Liberty Road up to Boulder Creek Road; Pine Gulch Road west of Red Top Road, including Red Top Road; and from the Lauderdale junction north to Mineral Springs on the east side of US97 – only residences directly connected to US97.
  • A Level 1 Evacuation notification remains in place for the western corridor of US97 from the Lauderdale junction to Mineral Springs, including the Liberty Café area.

Local closures remain in effect for the following roads:

  • Liberty Road
  • Williams Creek Road
  • Harkness Road
  • Pine Gulch Road east of Red Top Road
  • Liberty Mountain Association
  • Cougar Gulch Road
  • Boulder Creek Road
  • Reecer Creek Road at the Snowpark
  • Wilson Creek Road at the end of the county road
  • Coleman Canyon Road
  • Schnebly Canyon Road
  • Cooke Canyon Road
  • Upper Green Canyon Road
  • Sun East area at the north end of Robbins Road
  • Elk Springs Road

The Red Cross emergency clear air shelter remains open at the Mercer Creek Church at 1407 N. B Street, Ellensburg.

Residents are encouraged to monitor the Kittitas County website, http://www.co.kittitas.wa.us/, for updates and to view the interactive map, under the Table Mountain Fire response page.  For additional evacuation or road closure information, please call the EOC at 509-933-8305.

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UPDATE: 3:30 P.M. – Monday, 9/24/2012 -Red Cross Evacuation Shelter also Open to People Seeking Better Air Quality

Kittitas County, WA – The Kittitas County Public Health Department is partnering with Kittitas County Red Cross to offer a shelter for people seeking better air to breathe. The fire evacuation shelter at the Mercer Creek Church, 1407 N. B Street in Ellensburg, is being opened up to people who are seeking a place with better air quality than their homes. For people who cannot temporarily re-locate to other areas with better air quality, or for people whose homes do not have indoor air circulation, the shelter may provide some relief from the smoky air. Staying indoors or relocating to a place with better air quality is the best form of protection for everyone in the current air quality conditions.

The air quality level in Ellensburg today has been in the “unhealthy” to “very unhealthy” range.  Cle Elum saw “unhealthy” air early this morning however it improved to “moderate” later in the morning.  The range of air quality categories include good, moderate, unhealthy for sensitive groups, unhealthy, very unhealthy, and hazardous.  During conditions of unhealthy to hazardous air quality, the Kittitas County Public Health Department encourages everyone living in Kittitas County (and neighboring areas affected by smoke) to:

  • Limit outdoor activity, staying indoors if possible,
  • Avoid outdoor physical activity,
  • Keep doors and windows closed in buildings and cars,
  • Set air conditioning to “recycle” or “recirculate,”
  • Consider spending time or re-locating temporarily to a location with better air quality if you are experiencing negative symptoms related to the air quality.  Adverse symptoms may include dizziness, headache, difficulty breathing, coughing, excessive phlegm, and nausea.  Please contact your health care provider if you experience any of these symptoms.
  • This recommendation applies to everyone when the air quality is in the unhealthy, very unhealthy, or hazardous range, but it is especially important for sensitive groups which include:
  1. People with pre-existing lung or heart conditions such as asthma or emphysema, diabetes, or other respiratory infections;
  2. People who have had a stroke;
  3. Infants, children, and adults older than 65; and
  4. Pregnant women.

Sensitive groups should also follow the above recommendations when the air quality is in the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” range.

N-95 or P-100 masks can provide limited protection from the small particulate matter found in wildfire smoke if worn and fitted properly.  Bandanas (wet or dry), paper or surgical masks, or tissues held over the mouth and nose will not protect your lungs from wildfire smoke.  Individuals with heart or lung conditions should consult with their health care provider before using a mask.  Masks are not designed to fit children properly and should not be used for children as they will not provide adequate protection.  Children should be kept indoors.

The Kittitas County Public Health Department and the Central Washington University Student Medical and Counseling Clinic have N-95 masks available to adults who are considered to be in the sensitive groups definition.  Kittitas Valley Community Hospital has masks available for people who have a prescription from their health care provider.

Updated Resources on Local Air Quality and Health:

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UPDATE: 4:10 P.M. – Friday, 9/21/2012 – Interactive Togographic Map Shows All Major Area Fires

View Interactive Map

UPDATE: 1:30 P.M. – Friday, 9/21/2012 -map posted for additional state land closures

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Click preview image above for larger map

http://www2.co.kittitas.wa.us/fileUploads/press-releases/253/additional/Table Mountain Fire 20120921 1300 11×17 State Land Closure.pdf.

UPDATE: 1:15 P.M. – Friday, 9/21/2012 – Additional closures of state lands, latest evacuation info:

Kittitas County, WA -09/21/2012 – The Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center has coordinated with Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) on additional state land closures, effective at 12pm today, in the Colockum, Parke Creek and Quilomene areas.

This is in addition to the closures already in place for the Naneum State Forest and Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest (east of US97 to the Naneum State Forest).
Evacuation levels remain the same for residents affected by the Table Mountain Fire.

  • Level 3 Evacuations remain in effect for the area encompassing Elk Springs Road and Upper Green Canyon Road east to Wilson Creek Road and above the northern-most set of power lines. In the Liberty area, level 3 evacuations are still in place for Williams Creek Road, Harkness Road, Pine Gulch Road east of Red Top Road, Cougar Gulch Road, Boulder Creek Road and Liberty Mountain Association.
  • A Level 2 Evacuation notification remains in place for Liberty Road from US97 to Boulder Creek Road (the end of the county road), this includes the town of Liberty and any driveways directly connected to Liberty Road up to Boulder Creek Road; Pine Gulch Road west of Red Top Road, including Red Top Road; and from the Lauderdale junction north to Mineral Springs on the east side of US97 – only residences directly connected to US97.
  • A Level 1 Evacuation notification is also still in place for the western corridor of US97 from the Lauderdale junction to Mineral Springs, including the Liberty Café area; and from the lower portion of Upper Green Canyon Road southeast to Chukar Ridge Road and continuing southeast to Charlton Road.  This includes Reecer Creek Road 1/2 mile south of the powerlines, Robbins Road north of Chukar Ridge Road, Wilson Creek Road north of Charlton Road and Naneum Road north of Charlton Road.
  • The Red Cross emergency shelter remains open at the Mercer Creek Church at 1407 N. B Street, Ellensburg.  Currently 3 residents are staying at the shelter.
  • The KVEC Animal Evacuation shelter remains open at the Fairgrounds.  There are about 30 animals at the shelter as of this morning.  The shelter will switch today to regular operating hours 8:00am-5:00pm, Monday-Friday. Emergency evacuation calls during normal business hours can be placed to the Fair Office phone number, 509-962-7639.  If a need should arise after 5:00pm or over the weekend, please call the EOC at 509-933-8305 and Fair Staff will be contacted to handle evacuation needs.
  • The Washington State Department of Transportation has closed US97 over Blewett Pass from US2 to the Lauderdale junction effective 8am-6pm today.  Local residents who live north of the roadblock at the Lauderdale junction must show identification to proceed beyond the road closure.

Local closures remain in effect for the following roads:

  • Liberty Road
  • Williams Creek Road
  • Harkness Road
  • Pine Gulch Road east of Red Top Road
  • Liberty Mountain Association
  • Cougar Gulch Road
  • Boulder Creek Road
  • Reecer Creek Road at the Snowpark
  • Wilson Creek Road at the end of the county road
  • Coleman Canyon Road
  • Schnebly Canyon Road
  • Cooke Canyon Road
  • Upper Green Canyon Road
  • Sun East area at the north end of Robbins Road
  • Elk Springs Road

Residents are encouraged to monitor the Kittitas County website, http://www.co.kittitas.wa.us/, for updates and to view the interactive map, under the Table Mountain Fire response page.  For additional evacuation or road closure information, please call the EOC at 509-933-8305.

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UPDATE: 4:50 P.M. – Thursday, 9/20/2012 – Air Quality and Smoke Safety Update

It is the recommendation of the Kittitas County Health Officer that as long as wildfire smoke in our area is categorized by the Department of Ecology as “very unhealthy” or “hazardous”, preventative methods should be used to reduce exposure. See this complete article, with symptoms and recommendations, here.

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UPDATE: 9:00 A.M. – Thursday, 9/20/2012 – More evacuation areas added, HWY 97 re-opened last night

The Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center has issued Level 1 Evacuation notifications for an area along the south border of the current Level 3 notifications in the foothills north of Ellensburg.

The Level 1 notification is in effect from the lower portion of Upper Green Canyon Road southeast to Chukar Ridge Road and continuing southeast to Charlton Road.  This includes Reecer Creek Road 1/2 mile south of the powerlines, Robbins Road north of Chukar Ridge Road, Wilson Creek Road north of Charlton Road and Naneum Road north of Charlton Road.

Under a Level 1 Evacuation notification, persons are warned that current or projected threats from hazards associated with the approaching fire(s) are severe.  This is the time for preparation and precautionary movement of persons with special needs, mobile property, and (under certain circumstances) pets and livestock.

Residents are encouraged to monitor the Kittitas County website, http://www.co.kittitas.wa.us/, for updates and to view the interactive map, under the Table Mountain Fire response page.

  • Level 3 Evacuations remain in effect for the area encompassing Elk Springs Road and Upper Green Canyon Road east to Wilson Creek Road and above the northern-most set of power lines.
  • In the Liberty area, level 3 evacuations are still in place for Williams Creek Road, Harkness Road, Pine Gulch Road east of Red Top Road, Cougar Gulch Road, Boulder Creek Road and Liberty Mountain Association.
  • A Level 2 Evacuation notification remains in effect for Liberty Road from US97 to Boulder Creek Road (the end of the county road), this includes the town of Liberty and any driveways directly connected to Liberty Road up to Boulder Creek Road; Pine Gulch Road west of Red Top Road, including Red Top Road; and from the Lauderdale junction north to Mineral Springs on the east side of US97 – only residences directly connected to US97.
  • A Level 1 Evacuation notification is also still in place for the western corridor of US97 from the Lauderdale junction to Mineral Springs, including the Liberty Café area.
  • There are 161 improved parcels within the Level 3 evacuation areas and 97 improved parcels within the Level 2 evacuation areas.
  • The Red Cross emergency shelter remains open at the Mercer Creek Church at 1407 N. B Street, Ellensburg.  Currently 3 residents are staying at the shelter.
  • The emergency small animal and livestock shelter remains open at the Kittitas County Event Center-Fairgrounds.  As of this morning, there are 10 turkeys, 5 sheep, 3 dogs, 5 horses, 8 goats and 1 cat in the shelter.
  • The Washington State Department of Transportation reopened US97 over Blewett Pass late Wednesday night and there are no current restrictions.

Residents affected by the fire can contact the Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center at 509-933-8305 for additional evacuation information.

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UPDATE: 6:00 P.M. – Wednesday, 9/19/2012 – Portion of US 97 closed due to fire

Kittitas County, WA – The Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center has received notice that the Washington State Department of Transportation has closed a portion of US97 due to fire activity in the area.

US97 Blewett Pass is closed from milepost 150 at the Lauderdale junction of SR970 to milepost 177, eight miles south of the junction with US2.

  • Level 3 Evacuations remain in effect for the area encompassing Elk Springs Road and Upper Green Canyon Road east to Wilson Creek Road and above the northern-most set of power lines.  This area includes 135 improved parcels.
  • In the Liberty area, level 3 evacuations are still in place for Williams Creek Road, Harkness Road, Pine Gulch Road east of Red Top Road, Cougar Gulch Road, Boulder Creek Road and Liberty Mountain Association.
  • A Level 2 Evacuation notification remains in effect for Liberty Road from US97 to Boulder Creek Road (the end of the county road), this includes the town of Liberty and any driveways directly connected to Liberty Road up to Boulder Creek Road; Pine Gulch Road west of Red Top Road, including Red Top Road; and from the Lauderdale junction north to Mineral Springs on the east side of US97 – only residences directly connected to US97.
  • A Level 1 Evacuation notification is also still in place for the western corridor of US97 from the Lauderdale junction to Mineral Springs, including the Liberty Café area.

The EOC will continue to reevaluate evacuation levels through the night.  Residents are encouraged to monitor the Kittitas County website, http://www.co.kittitas.wa.us/, for updates and to view the interactive map, under the Table Mountain Fire response page.

A Red Cross emergency shelter is set up at the Mercer Creek Church at 1407 N. B Street, Ellensburg.

An emergency small animal and livestock shelter is set up at the Kittitas County Event Center-Fairgrounds.

Residents affected by the fire can contact the Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center at 509-933-8305 for additional evacuation information.

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UPDATE: 2:30 P.M. – Wednesday, 9/19/2012 – EVACUATION LEVEL UPGRADED

Kittitas County, WA – The Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center has upgraded the following areas to Evacuation Level 3 effective 2pm today.

The area encompassing Elk Springs Road and Upper Green Canyon Road east to Wilson Creek Road and above the northern-most set of power lines.

Under a level 3 evacuation notice, residents are advised that current conditions present specific and immediate threat(s) to the life and safety of persons within this area.  Residents are advised to evacuate immediately.

A Red Cross emergency shelter is set up at the Mercer Creek Church at 1407 N. B Street, Ellensburg.

An emergency livestock shelter is set up at the Kittitas County Event Center-Fairgrounds.

Residents affected by the fire can contact the Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center at 509-933-8305 for additional evacuation information, or can view the interactive map on the County wesbite, http://www.co.kittitas.wa.us/, under the Table Mountain Fire response page.

ALSO SEE RELATED STORY – Kittitas County Residents Encouraged to Take Precautions in Current Air Quality Conditions –  http://nkctribune.com/2012/09/kittitas-county-residents-encouraged-to-take-precautions-in-current-air-quality-conditions/

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UPDATE: 4:40 P.M. – Monday, 9/17/2012 – UPDATED EVACUATION MAP

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Click on preview for full size map

Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center has posted an updated interactive fire map on the county webpage, which shows current evacuation levels for the Table Mountain Complex and active fire areas for the Table Mountain Complex, Yakima Complex and Wenatchee Complex.

The American Red Cross shelter at the Centennial Center in Cle Elum has changed to stand-by mode.  Anyone needing the shelter can call the 24-hour on-call number, 509-929-0432.

The following is a list of current road closures in effect due to the Table Mountain Fire.

  • Liberty Road
  • Williams Creek Road
  • Harkness Road
  • Pine Gulch Road east of Red Top Road
  • Liberty Mountain Association
  • Cougar Gulch Road
  • Boulder Creek Road
  • Reecer Creek Road at the Snowpark
  • Wilson Creek Road at the end of the county road
  • Coleman Canyon Road
  • Schnebly Canyon Road
  • Cooke Canyon Road
  • Upper Green Canyon Road
  • Sun East area at the north end of Robbins Road
  • Elk Springs Road
  • Forest closures remain in place for the Naneum State Forest and Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest (east of US97 to the Naneum State Forest).

Residents affected by the fire can contact the Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center at 509-933-8305 for additional road closure information.  For fire information, please visit http://inciweb.org/incident/3269/, or contact the Table Mountain Complex at 509-260-1538.

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UPDATE: 9:10 A.M. – Monday, 9/17/2012 – PUBLIC MEETINGS – Table Mountain & Yakima Complex Fires

Kittitas County, WA – Two public meetings will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 18th, to provide information on the Table Mountain Fire and Yakima Complex Fires.

Cle Elum-Liberty Area

Tuesday, Sept. 18th @ 4pm – Liberty Cafe

19601 US 97

Liberty, WA

Ellensburg

Tuesday, Sept. 18th @ 7pm – Central Washington University

Student Union Rec Center – Ballroom, Section C
400 E. University Way, Ellensburg, WA
@ University Way & Chestnut St., turn north onto Campus

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UPDATE: 9:00 A.M. – Monday, 9/17/2012 – Centennial Center shelter status update:

Centennial Center emergency shelter was able to be closed, and return to normal operations, as of 9:00 a.m. this morning, according to a report from UKC Senior Center President Susan Klein. “We are on standby as a shelter, and if needed, will open immediately,” said Klein.

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UPDATE: 1:00 P.M. – Sunday, 9/16/2012

Effective 12pm on Sunday, Sept. 16, included are the current evacuation levels for the Table Mountain Fire:

Level 3:

  • Williams Creek
  • Harkness
  • Pine Gulch east of Red Top Road
  • Liberty Mountain Association
  • Cougar Gulch
  • Boulder Creek Road

 

Level 2:

  • Liberty Road from US97 to Boulder Creek Road (the end of the county road), this includes the town of Liberty and any driveways directly connected to Liberty Road up to Boulder Creek Road
  • Pine Gulch Road west of Red Top Road, including Red Top Road
  • From the Lauderdale junction north to Mineral Springs on the east side of US97 – only residences directly connected to US97
  • Upper Green Canyon
  • The top of the Naneum drainage
  • Wilson Creek
  • Sun East housing development at the top of Robbins Road

 

Level 1:

  • The western corridor of US97 from the Lauderdale junction to Mineral Springs, including the Liberty Café area

 

Residents who are under a Level 3 evacuation status needing an escort into their properties can contact the Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Comm Van in Liberty.

For more information, go to www.inciweb.org/incident/3256.  Residents affected by the fire can contact the Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center at 509-933-8305.  For fire information, please contact the Yakima Complex Information Office at 509-925-1193.

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UPDATE: 6:36 p.m. – Saturday, 9/15/2012

Kittitas County, WA -The Table Mountain fire has prompted the Kittitas County Sheriff to designate as level-3 evacuation areas the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest east of State Highway 97, the Naneum State Forest, and the town of Liberty. Residents of Liberty were evacuated Saturday afternoon and urged to check in with Red Cross officials at Centennial Center, 719 E. Third, in Cle Elum.  Red Cross staff will provide information about emergency shelter for evacuees as well as for livestock and pets. Horses may be boarded at the Washington State Horse Park, located just east of the Cascade Range off Interstate 90 in Cle Elum (please see www.washingtonstatehorsepark.org).

The evacuations follow a declaration of emergency by the Kittitas County Commission Saturday morning. The Washington State Patrol has approved a mobilization act, which will allow the release of additional fire apparatus and personnel and law enforcement personnel in the affected area.

Undersheriff Clay Myers said residents have been cooperating with evacuation efforts and that deputies appreciated the support in the midst of a situation that can appear particularly threatening at night.

“We’ve seen an uptick in emergency calls at night when fire is visible for miles and flames can appear too close for comfort,” said Myers, adding that the department’s top priority is the health and safety of people. “We are keeping a close, minute-to-minute watch on the fire, and if it threatens to come near homes and property, we’ll let people know right away.”

The expansion of the fire has forced the closure of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest east of State Highway 97. The area extends from Blewett Pass, south along Highway 97 to the vicinity of the Liberty Café, along the northern boundary of the Cle Elum Ranger District on the county line, down the eastern boundary of the Cle Elum Ranger District, and along the southern edge of the Cle Elum Ranger District. The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has closed the Naneum State Forest to protect the safety of the public and firefighters, although the area is not directly threatened now.

US Forest Service or DNR roads closed due to fire, include Reecer Creek Road at Snowpark, Wilson Creek Road at the end of the county road, Coleman Canyon Road, Schnebly Canyon Road, and Cook Canyon Road.

Early Saturday morning fires in the Table Mountain area merged and now are estimated to be more than 2500 acres. This fire is being managed as part of the Yakima Complex.  By Sunday, Sept. 16, nearly 1200 firefighters will be working on the fires in Yakima and Kittitas Counties.

In Kittitas and Yakima counties firefighters are battling more than 100 fires, which were sparked by lightening last week.

For more information please see www.inciweb.org/incident/3256.  Residents affected by the fire please contact the Emergency Operations Center at 509-933-8305.

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Click for full size map of evacuation zones

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KITTITAS COUNTY, WA – 3:00 p.m. – Saturday, 9/15/12 – The expansion and merger of multiple wildfires in the Swauk Creek / Table Mountain area have prompted the Kittitas County Sheriff to direct level-1, 2 and 3 evacuations of area residents. Evacuees are asked to check in with emergency officials at the Upper County Senior Center, 719 E. Third, in Cle Elum. The evacuation notices follow a declaration of emergency by the Kittitas County Commission this morning.

A level 1 evacuation advises residents fire is in the area and they should prepare to leave; level 2 advises residents to be ready to leave within 30 minutes should the situation change; level 3advises residents of imminent danger and the need to leave immediately.

Following are areas affected by the evacuation order:

Level 3: Williams Creek, Harkness, Pine Gulch, Liberty Mountain Association, Cougar Gulch, and Boulder Creek

Level 2: Liberty, Upper Green Canyon, the top of the Naneum drainage, Wilson Creek, and the Sun East housing development at the top of Robbins Road. Level 1: SR 97 to the Liberty Cafe and the northern foothills of lower Kittitas County

Red Cross representatives will be available at the Senior Center in Cle Elum to identify the needs of evacuees and their livestock or pets. The Washington State Patrol has approved a mobilization act which will allow the release of additional fire engines and law enforcement personnel in the affected area.

The expansion of the fire has forced the closure of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest east of State Highway 97 (extending from Blewett Pass, south along Highway 97 to the vicinity of Liberty Cafe), along the northern boundary of the Cle Elum Ranger District on the county line, extending down the eastern boundary of the Cle Elum Ranger District, and along the southern edge of the Cle Elum Ranger District.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources has closed the entire Naneum State Forest. There is no immediate threat; however, the closure is being implemented for public and fire fighter safety. DNR personnel will be in the area issuing notifications. The public will be updated as these closures expand or decrease.

The wildfires are burning in the Liberty and Table Mountain areas; the fires have grown together and are now estimated to be more than 2500 acres. This fire is being managed as part of the Yakima Complex. Over 800 firefighters are working on the fires in Yakima and Kittitas Counties, with more resources expected to arrive today.

For more information please see www.inciweb.org/incident/3256. Residents affected by the fire please contact the Emergency Operations Center at 509-933-8305. For fire information please contact the Yakima Complex Information Office at 509-925-1193.