#TableMountain #WAFire 12pm Update ^MARH

This information also available at: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/article/3269/17786/

Contact: Public Information Office – 206-947-9705 or 206-947-937

Monday, September 24, 2012 – 12:00 pm PDT

Size: 35,965 acres

Contained: 10%

Personnel: 944

News & Events for the Table Mountain Fire:

  • A burnout operation is planned for the northwest end of the Table Mountain Fire along a 1-mile section of fire line. The burnout is being carefully planned to minimize impacts to Hwy 97.
  • Slightly warmer and drier conditions expected for today may contribute to a slight increase in fire activity. Interior burning continues within the fire perimeter. The fire is expected to continue slowly backing down the fire perimeter in areas of grass or other low vegetation, with more intense burning of single or groups of trees.
  • Night shift firefighters continue to patrol and remain available for initial attack response as needed.
  • The Pacific Northwest (PNW) Team 2 managing the Table Mountain Fire is working closely with the managers of the Wenatchee Complex Fires to the north, coordinating fire suppression efforts where the two fires are in close proximity.
  • Evacuation levels, area and road closures remain in place for public safety purposes (detailed information below); approximately 800 structures remain threatened. Lifting of evacuations is currently being evaluated.
  • The Table Mountain Fire offers information on social media sites which are listed below.
  • The Incident Command Post, currently located in Teanaway, will move to the Rotary Park sports complex in Ellensburg on Tuesday, September 25, 2012, as PNW Team 2 assumes support of an additional 150 firefighters from the Wild Rose Fire and Yakima Complex.

Table Mountain Fire Operations Summary:

Yesterday crews finished line preparation on the NW flank of the fire and performed some burnout operations to strengthen the line. Crews also continued efforts to strengthen and tie in portions of the fire line along the W/S flanks. In the SW flank firefighters accomplished extensive line preparation and constructed some direct line closer to the fire’s edge. Crews have tied in hand lines with dozer lines near Wilson Creek. On the west flank, crews strengthened contingency lines. Last night fire crews continued structure protection and patrol.

Fire crews continue to provide initial attack response and structure protection around Liberty and Reecer.

Today, firefighters will continue with coordinated burnout operations and building of direct line where possible on the southwest and west flanks. On the south flank, crews will continue working in the Wilson Creek area, utilizing the 35711 road system, existing clear cuts and hand line to tie in segments of the fire line. Newly arriving resources will be assigned to the east flank to start building line from the county line south.

Closures: Local road closures remain in effect; go to the Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center, Inciweb or the Okangon-Wenatchee National Forest website for current road and area closure information.

Area Closures: As of September 22, 2012, all State lands east of the Naneum State Forest line to the Columbia River are closed due to fire hazards. This includes the Colockum, Quilomene and Whiskey Dick’s Wildlife Areas. 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 WADOT website at http://www.wsdot.was.gov/

Forest Service and Department of Natural Resource Road Closures: Reecer Creek Road at the Snowpack, 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.

FIRE FACTS: Table Mountain Fire: Started: September 8, 2012 Cause: lightning Location: Cle Elum, WA/Kittitas County Resources: A total of 944 personnel are assigned to the fire, including 21 crews, 5 helicopters, 82 engines, 10 dozers and 19 water tenders.

RESOURCE CONCERNS: Multiple historic cabins, archaeological sites, mines, threatened and endangered species, old growth reserves.

WEATHER: Sunny. Areas of valley smoke in the morning, and patchy valley smoke in the afternoon. Maximum temperature predicted at 82 degrees at lower elevations and 70 degrees at higher elevations. Relative humidities are predicted at 20-28% for lower elevations and 28-37% at high elevation. Downslope winds 3-6 mph becoming upslope 4-8 mph after 11:00 AM. Ridgetop winds will be light, becoming west 4-8 mph by mid-afternoon.

WEATHER OUTLOOK: Partly cloudy tonight with areas of smoke. Good humidity recoveries on the mid-slopes and ridges. Temps 50-58 degrees at the ridge tops and 43-50 in canyon bottoms. Relative humidity max 50 to 70% midslope to ridgetop and 70 to 90% in canyon bottoms. Winds on ridges expected to be light and variable. Valley downcanyon/downslope 4 to 8 mph, but strong NW winds with gusts to 30 mph are likely in the Kittitas Valley into Monday morning.

TODAY’S EXPECTED FIRE BEHAVIOR: On the NW flank of the fire warmer and drier conditions should improve conditions for burning out to strengthen containment lines. On the W flank there is potential for flare-ups and interior burning will continue but little spread is likely due to the fire being on scree slopes. On the SW flank, an increase in fire activity is expected, with more intense surface burning and isolated flare-ups of single or grouped trees. On the E flank, there is a potential for very rapid spread and intense flare-ups where fuels, wind and slopes align. No significant change in fire behavior is expected over the next several days.

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.

MORE TABLE MOUNTAIN FIRE SOCIAL MEDIA SITES:

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/showsat.php?wfo=otx&area=west&type=vis&size=1

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