#TableMountain #WAFire 9/25 Morning Update ^ST

Table Mountain Fire Update

Contact: Public Information Office –  206-947-9705 or  206-947-9737

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 – 9:00 am PDT Fire Status Update

Size: 36,290 acres

Contained: 10%

Personnel: 1,063

News & Events for the Table Mountain Fire:

  • The Incident Command Post (ICP), currently located in Teanaway, is moving to Anderson Hay, located south of the Rotary Park in Ellensburg. Expect additional traffic and equipment on Hwy 970 and Hwy 97 throughout the day.
  • A travel route for fire equipment has been planned to minimize impacts to local traffic. On Wednesday, September 26, 2012, Washington State Patrol 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.
  • The Table Mountain and Wenatchee Complex Fires have grown together north and east of Swauk Pass. This was a strategic effort by firefighters achieved through carefully planned and executed burnout operations. Fire management teams from both fires will continue to closely coordinate suppression efforts.
  • 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 in forested areas.
  • Night shift firefighters continue to patrol and remain available for initial attack response as needed.
  • Evacuation levels, area and road closures remain in place for public safety purposes. Lifting of evacuations is being evaluated on a daily basis. Current information on evacuations is available from the Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at www.co.kittitas.wa.us or  (509) 933-8305.
  • The Table Mountain Fire offers information on social media sites which are listed below.

Table Mountain Fire Operations Summary:

Yesterday crews continued strengthening line in the northwest flank of the fire and accomplished successful burnout operations there. Crews in the west and southwest flanks of the fire made efforts to construct line closer to the fire perimeter. Using a combination of existing roads, dozer line construction and hand line construction close to the fire perimeter, firefighters made excellent progress in line construction in the south and southeast flanks of the fire. Firefighters scouted the eastern flank to identify the best route for line construction and began line construction as close to the fire perimeter as possible. Last night fire crews continued structure protection, patrol and mop-up.

Fire crews continue to provide initial attack response and structure protection around Liberty and Reecer, and monitoring in the Sun East development.

Today firefighters plan to conduct more burnout operations as conditions allow, improve line, and build direct line closer to the fire’s edge where possible on the southwest and west flanks. Crews will begin mop-up operations in the southwest area. Along the southeast and eastern sides of the fire, firefighters will continue scouting for locations to build direct line to minimize the amount of timberline burned.

Night crews will continue to patrol, hold and mop up where needed.

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 Washington Department of Transportation website at http://www.wsdot.was.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., 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 1,063 personnel are assigned to the fire, including 19 crews, 4 helicopters, 100 engines, 10 dozers and 19 water tenders.

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

WEATHER: A weak cold front will move through the incident today and this will shift the winds from the west to the northwest and bring slightly cooler air. Drier air is expected this evening on ridge tops with lower humidity, but good humidity recovery is expected at lower elevations. Maximum temperature is predicted at 77 degrees at lower elevations and 64 degrees at higher elevations. Relative humidities are predicted at 27-32% for lower elevations and 32-40% 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 5-8 mph with gusts to 13 mph.

WEATHER OUTLOOK: A warming and drying trend is predicted for the next couple of days, with mostly cloudy to partly cloudy conditions. Areas of smoke are expected in the valleys, especially in the mornings.

TODAY’S EXPECTED FIRE BEHAVIOR: Upslope winds on the northwest flank of the fire will continue to aid burnout operations. On the west side the fire is expected to continue slowly backing down. On the southwest flank, backing fire with short, intense runs uphill are expected when the smoke lifts. On the east flank, there is a potential for very rapid spread and intense flare-ups where fuels, wind and slopes align.

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.

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

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