UPDATE 4:30 p.m. – Friday, Aug. 24, 2012 –EOC Update

Kittitas County, WA -08/24/2012 – Effective 6:00am Saturday, August 25th, the Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center will be entering a Phase 2 level of activation for the Taylor Bridge Fire incident. The EOC will be operating during regular business hours and the phones will be available 8am-4pm Monday through Friday.
Also effective 6:00am Saturday, areas under emergency Level 1 will be released and have no restrictions.  Areas under Level 2 status will remain the same and are restricted to residents only.  Road closures remain in effect at Hidden Valley Rd and Lambert Rd, 1 ½ miles east of Taylor Rd on Lambert Rd, and the construction closure on SR10.

To date, County assessment teams have visited and verified damage on 103 properties within the fire footprint.  61 houses or cabins are confirmed completely destroyed, 7 houses or cabins with partial damage, and 35 additional properties with other structure loss that was not a house or cabin.

As the County transitions from the response period into recovery and mitigation, the County’s leadership is committed to involving affected communities.  Priorities include assisting fire victims in debris removal and rebuilding, supporting those with animals and affected livestock, establishing plans with the Department of Ecology to mitigate hazardous materials and erosion, and identifying significant impacts to wildlife.

Solid Waste Disposal

The County will provide delivery and removal of dumpsters for debris cleanup to any properties which request it within the impacted area that have received residential structural losses.  The County will pay for the delivery, removal, and up to 10 days rental fees.

All tipping fees for debris removal for property owners within the impacted areas will be waived.  Any debris which was burned shall not be accepted at the County’s transfer station prior to 15 days after the event.  The first day of this program begins, Wednesday, August 29th.

All metal and concrete needs to be segregated and recycled – DO NOT put metal or concrete in the dumpsters.  For additional disposal and recycling information, please visit the County’s website at www.co.kittitas.wa.us/solidwaste/, or call Kittitas County Solid Waste at 509-962-7542.

Volunteers Needed

On Monday, August 27th, volunteers are needed to help move donations from one of the Ellensburg donation centers to another facility.  The new space, located at 2060 Vantage Hwy #34, will allow for the continued long-term distribution of items donated to those affected by the Taylor Bridge Fire.

Volunteers are needed to sort, organize, pack, and haul the donated goods.  Anyone interested in helping the move should meet at 421 Main St. in Ellensburg at 7 p.m.  Enclosed trucks and trailers clean enough to haul boxed clothing are also needed.


UPDATE 6:00 p.m. – Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012 – Resource Recovery Center at CWU

Kittitas County, WA – As a way to streamline the assistance process for anyone affected by the Taylor Bridge wildfire, the Kittitas County Department of Emergency Management will bring representatives from county, state, faith-based, and other human-services resource organizations together for a half-day Resource Recover Center on Thursday, August 23, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Green Hall at Central Washington University.

The agencies invited to participate include:

  • American Red Cross
  • Central Washington Comprehensive Mental Health
  • Chestnut Street Baptist Church
  • Housing Authority of Kittitas County
  • Kittitas County Building Department
  • Kittitas County Environmental Health
  • Kittitas County Public Health Department
  • Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
  • Washington State Department of Social and Health Services
  • Waste Management
  • Kittitas County PUD
  • Kittitas County Conservation District
  • Washington State Insurance Commissioner representative
  • Additional agency representation may be on site, if available.

Green Hall is located adjacent to CWU’s Student Village complex, between Nicholson Boulevard and 18th Street off Alder Street. Free parking will be available in CWU parking lots V18 and V22 for those visiting the Resource Recovery Center.

For additional information, call the Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center at 509-933-8305.


UPDATE 5:00 p.m. – Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012 – Emergency Levels Reduced

The following is an update as of Tuesday, August 21, 2012 at 5pm, on current road closures and downgraded emergency levels in Kittitas County.
All areas north of SR970 and US97 north of the Lauderdale junction have been downgraded to Level 1.

Limited portions of the Hidden Valley area and Emerick Rd have been downgraded to Level 2, with restrictions to residents only.  Please check in at the roadblock at Hidden Valley Rd and deputies will be on site to determine if your residence is accessible and in the Level 2 area.

Power in this area is intermittent and sporadic, as Kittitas County PUD continues working on restoration efforts. Treat all downed power lines as live and contact your local power company to inform them of their location. Questions regarding water supply or septic issues should be directed to the Kittitas County Public Health Department.

Areas past the barricades remain at Level 3.

For questions or more details, please contact the Kittitas County EOC at 509-933-8305.


UPDATE 4:00 p.m. – Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012 – Rodeo and Fair schedule not affected by the fire – click to see memo from the Sheriff’s department.


UPDATE 6:00 p.m. – Monday, Aug. 20, 2012 – Updated list of donation contact info posted (click to see list)


UPDATE 1:58 p.m. – Monday, Aug. 20, 2012 – Fairgrounds Animal Evacuation/Recovery and Volunteers

Kittitas County, WA  – The Kittitas County Fairgrounds phone line for Animal Evacuations/Recovery, 509-962-0002, will be manned from 8 AM until 5 PM. If an animal evacuation is needed due to the Taylor Bridge Fire after 5:00 PM, those needing assistance should call KITTCOM at 509-925-8534.

“Thank you to all the volunteers who have provided assistance at the Fairgrounds,” said Undersheriff Clay Myers, “As we begin to evaluate our operation, it is very important that we have a clear understanding of how many volunteers we had on the grounds and when they were here.  Through the fast-paced nature of the event, there may have been some volunteers that were unaccounted for.  We are asking ALL volunteers associated with the rescue effort to contact the Kittitas County Fairgrounds at 962-0003 to confirm their hours.  Volunteers may also stop by the Fairgrounds Command Center.”


UPDATE 11:50 a.m. – Monday, Aug. 20, 2012 – Update on Road Closures

Kittitas County, WA – The following is an update as of Monday, August 20, 2012 at 11 a.m. on current road closures and downgraded areas in Kittitas County:
  • Barricades have been moved 1 and 1/2 miles east of Taylor Road on Lambert Road.
  • Barricades have been moved up Hidden Valley Road to Lambert Road.
  • Everything before the barricades has been downgraded to Level 2 – Residents only. Areas past the barricades remain at Level 3.
  • The southern half of Hidden Valley Rd, Emerick Rd. and Hart Rd., including the side roads off of these roads, are still closed and remain at Level 3.
  • Burke Rd. and Ranch Rd. have been re-opened and downgraded to Level 2 – Residents only.
  • Bettas Rd. is still closed and remains at Level 3.

For questions or more details, please contact the Kittitas County EOC at 509-933-8305.


UPDATE 9:00 a.m. – Friday, Aug. 17, 2012 – Sunlight Waters and United Way Recovery Fund Information
The Sunlight Waters development evacuation level has been lowered to a Level 2.  A Level 2 Evacuation indicates a good probability that hazards associated with the  fire could severely limit ability to provide emergency services and dangerous conditions still exist.  Only local residents, inspectors, and work crews are allowed back into the development at this time.  There are water restrictions still in place through the Public Health Officer, however, drinking water will be provided by the American Red Cross.  Residents should use extreme caution while working in the area.  For any questions, please call the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Operations Center at 509-933-8305.

Attached is information provided by the County Auditor on the Kittitas County Fire Recovery Fund established by United Way of Central Washington.

Read the full public service announcement at https://www2.co.kittitas.wa.us/fileUploads/press-releases/201/United Way Recovery.pdf.


Update 4:00 p.m. – Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012 – Evacuation and Donation Information
Reports from the Sunlight Water’s Water District, the water systems are currently down and there is no fresh water available.  Crews are currently working on the system and will keep the public updated.

Along the east portion of the fire: Cricklewood Lane (off of SR97), Ellensburg Ranches Road (off of SR97), Hayward Road (off of SR10 and Ellensburg Ranches Road). SR10 is accessible to residents from Hayward Road east to the SR97 junction.

Attached is an Evacuation Notification summary describing the differences in Levels of Evacuation.

Click for an updated list of donation information.

Monetary Donations can be sent to our local American Red Cross:

American Red Cross
312 North Pearl St.
Ellensburg, WA 98926
Contact: 509-925-5866

Read the full public service announcement at https://www2.co.kittitas.wa.us/fileUploads/press-releases/200/Evacuation Levels.pdf.

Additional files: https://www2.co.kittitas.wa.us/fileUploads/press-releases/200/additional/Donation Sites.pdf.
Kittitas County, from the Cascades to the Columbia, and online at https://www.co.kittitas.wa.us

UPDATE: 11:15 a.m.-  (Tuesday, 8/14/12) – If you have been affected by the Taylor Bridge Fire and need assistance, please call 211. 211 is a resource network funded by the United Way and is ready to help.


UPDATE: 5:20 a.m.-  (Tuesday, 8/14/12) -Fire at 27,000 acres


UPDATE: 4:20 a.m.-  (Tuesday, 8/14/12) -Fire has jumped across Reecer Creek; 1/2 way to Smithson Road and Pheasant Lane. Law Enforcement evacuating Pheasant Lane.


UPDATE: 2:00 a.m.-  (Tuesday, 8/14/12) -26, 500 Acres and 41 square miles

  • 60 plus structures are lost
  • No reported injures

(Click map for larger image)


UPDATE: 1:56 a.m.-  (Tuesday, 8/14/12) -Cpl. Nale requested to evacuate the area of Faust Road and HWY 97.


UPDATE: 1:50 a.m.-  (Tuesday, 8/14/12) -Evacuating at this time in the Sunlight Waters has HEAVY smoke and fire is coming up the backside of the hill


UPDATE: 12:07 a.m.-  (Tuesday, 8/14/12) –

  • 16,000 ACRES
  • 60 HOMES, effecting and impacting Clarke Flats now to Hwy 97


UPDATE: 11:40 p.m.-  (Monday, 8/13/12) – Priorities:

  1. Provide Human Services effective to the fire
  2. Establish reporting system for those with loss to the fire
  3. Physically inspect the remote areas to assist anyone who has been cut off from the fire (stranded)
  4. Support the fire investigation
  5. Support the domestic animal and livestock rescue services


UPDATE: 10:50 p.m.-  (Monday, 8/13/12) – EOC CONTACT PHONE NUMBER: 509-933-8305 for citizens to call with evacuation questions


UPDATE: 10:15 p.m. – (Monday, 8/13/12) – Fire still 0% contained

Fire perimeter at this time:

  • North side – SR97
  • East – Lower Green Canyon area
  • West – Taylor Road area
  • South – Yakima River


  •  Estimate 25 structures lost
  •  Fire size in excess of 10,000 acres
  •  No injuries reported
  • A few citizens have utilized emergency shelters
  • 54 horses were evacuated to the Kittitas County Fairgrounds
  • Horizon Wind Farm has shut down operations for safety purposes


UPDATE: 7:45 p.m. –  (Monday, 8/13/12) – SAFETY PSA

  • Citizens are strongly encouraged to adhere to evacuation protocols as they are explained to them.
  • Take personal responsibility and prepare long before the threat of a wildfire so your home is ready in case of a fire.  Make sure all residents residing within the home are on the same page, and know planned escape routes.
  • Get your family and home prepared at the onset of fire in your area.  Gather family and pets and have them prepared to evacuate.  Pack your vehicle with your emergency items including medication and personal identification.  Stay aware of the latest news from local media and your local fire department for updated information on the fire..  Be prepared to evacuate your home if called to do so.

Do not linger once evacuation orders have been given.  Leave early and stay away until your area has been cleared for return by local officials.  Promptly leaving your home and neighborhood clears roads for firefighters to get equipment in place to best maneuver the wildfire and ensures you and your family’s safety.


UPDATE: 7:00 p.m. –  (Monday, 8/13/12) – Ellensburg Evacuation Shelter – Central WA University – Munson Dorms, check in at Conference Center, C9 Parking lot, on University Way, across from Sue Lombard.


6:30 p.m. – Aug 13, 2012 – Cle Elum/Thorp, WA – At 1:19 p.m., a brush fire started at MP 90 on SR10, at Taylor Road and Hart Road, between Cle Elum and Thorp.  Fire units are on scene and attempting to contain the fire, which is spreading rapidly east and the area is under evacuation.  The first is estimated to be 2800 acres as of 5:45 p.m..

Stage 3 evacuation:

As of 5:00 p.m., Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office has advised of a Stage 3 evacuation – Current conditions present specific and immediate threat(s) to the life and safety of persons within this area.  People in the affected areas are advised to evacuate immediately.  Air assets are available to evacuate persons who are unable to leave via roads.

As of 5:00 p.m., the fire jumped SR97 just below Elk Horn Road, headed east towards Green Canyon and Reecer Creek.  The Emergency Operations Center has ordered evacuations for the following areas: Bettas Valley, Swauk Valley, Teanaway, and homes on the westside of SR97 between SR97 and Swauk, SunEast, Upper Reecer Creek, Green Canyon, areas northeast of Ellensburg (specifically homes with no green/defendable space around them).

Fire has been reported to be ½ mile to ¾ mile wide and has jumped Reecer Creek Road, above Smithson Road.

Emergency Shelters:

An emergency shelter has been opened at the Cle Elum Centennial Senior Center, 719 East Third Street, Cle Elum, 509-674-7530.  An emergency animal shelter has been set up at the Kittitas County Fairgrounds.

Residents downwind of the fire should expect smoky conditions and poor air quality.

State of Emergency declared:

At 3:30 p.m., the Board of County Commissioners declared a State of Emergency.  The fire has been declared a State Mobilization fire.  The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has been activated at the Sheriff’s Office.

SR97 is closed from Smithson Road to SR970; SR97 closed at SR10, local traffic only.  SR970 is currently open.

In response to the State Mobilization request, Type 2 Incident Management team will be on site at 6:00 a.m. Tuesday to assume control of the fire.

Updates will follow as available; EOC command requests not to call KITTCOM for updates, as the Dispatch Center is inundated with phone calls.

Watch the Aug. 16, 2012 print edition of the NKC Tribune for full story and more photos.