#TableMountain #WAFire 9/26 Morning Update ^ST

Table Mountain Fire Update

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

Tuesday, September 26, 2012 – 9:00 am PDT Fire Status Update

Size: 37,677 acres

Contained: 15%

Personnel: 1,136

News & Events for the Table Mountain Fire:

  • The Incident Command Post (ICP), previously located in Teanaway, has moved to Anderson Hay, located south of the Rotary Park in Ellensburg. Additional traffic and equipment on Hwy 97 can be expected for the duration of the incident.
  • A travel route for fire equipment has been planned to minimize impacts to local traffic. Today, local law enforcement 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 Blewett 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 in the area.
  • The fire is expected to continue slowly backing down 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 if 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 to strengthen line and completed burn out operations on the northwest corner of the fire. Crews also strengthened containment lines on the western flank of the fire in preparation for a burn out operation that will be completed within the next few days as weather and fire behavior conditions permit. Firefighters continued to make excellent progress using dozers and hand crews to construct line and secure the southern and eastern perimeter of the fire. Night operations focused on maintaining current lines and secured protection around structures within and around the communities of Liberty, Reecer, Sun East, and Liberty Mountain.

Today firefighters plan to strengthen lines by conducting more burnout operations as conditions allow. Firefighters will also improve line and build direct line closer to the fire’s edge where possible. Crews will begin mop-up operations and build direct lines in the southwest and eastern flank of the fire area. Along the west side of the fire dozer and hand line will be constructed in preparation for the burnout operation which will take place within the next couple of days. Residents can expect to see an increase in smoke during the peak burning window in the afternoon, as temperatures rise and fuels dry out. Operations continue to seek the opportunity to build direct line and to minimize impact to the surrounding forest. 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 1,136 personnel are assigned to the fire, including 24 crews, 6 helicopters, 73 engines, 9 dozers and 14 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 74 degrees at lower elevations and 64 degrees at higher elevations. Relative humidity is predicted at 24-26% for lower elevations and 26-30% at high elevation. Downslope winds will be 6-8 mph becoming upslope 4-8 mph after 11:00 AM. Ridgetop winds from the west will become northwest 5-8 mph with gusts to 15 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 the fire is expected to continue slowly backing down and crews will begin mop up.

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

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