“There’s a hot spot right there,” said Department of Natural Resources firefighter Jay Guthrie, as he pointed a handheld device into the woods east of Cle Elum.
The device is a palm I.R., an infrared heat detector that finds hot spots in the underground root systems of scorched trees. The woods are full of them, but firefighters are only digging up the ones near containment lines.
The Taylor Bridge Fire was declared "contained" Tuesday night, 16 days after it started and took off like a shot on the Kittitas County winds.
23,500 acres and nearly 60 burned homes later, it’s now just a series of those contained hot spots. Firefighters take them seriously because they say roots can burn underground for weeks, even months, and then just climb up a stump. Once they reach open air, they can reignite.
Crews will get as many of them as they can, but they said only rain or snow will finally dowse the once-mighty fire.