Losses from Taylor Bridge fire estimated at $8.3 million

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on August 20, 2012 at 7:37 AM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 21 at 12:28 PM

Damage from the Taylor Bridge Wildfire is estimated $8.3 million, with 51 houses or cabins completely lost, six houses or cabins with partial damage, and 26 additional properties with other structure loss, Kittitas County Emergency Management officials said Monday afternoon.

In addition:

  • There are 334 improved parcels within the fire footprint
  • Almost 1,000 parcels were evacuated during the peak of the fire
  • The American Red Cross estimates 2,300 snacks and meals and 400 bulk items, such as shovels, buckets and gloves, have been handed out in the fire zone since the fire started last Monday.

The fire was at 23,334 acres and 57 percent contained as of noon Tuesday. Firefighters hope to have the fire near Cle Elum fully contained by Tuesday, but wind will continue to plague the more than 1,000 firefighters stationed in the fire zone.

The southeast half of the fire was contained over the weekend, but flare ups continue along the fire's northern flank. Even after full containment is reached, crews will remain in the area for weeks to monitor hot spots.

Firefighters on Monday were doing burnouts - small fires within the control lines of the fire, used to get rid of pockets of unburned fuels. Fire managers said the burnout operations were successful over approximately 200 acres on the northwest side of the fire, west of Hidden Valley Road and just south of Lambert Road. On the east and south side of the fire, an estimated 24 miles of perimeter has been mopped up 300 feet into the burned area.

"We try to control the situation by starting a fire based on the wind and terrain and so if the fire tries to spread it doesn't have anywhere to go," said fire information officer Tim Perciful.

Reduced evacuation orders remain in place for the Hidden Valley neighborhood in the northwest corner of the fire, where erratic winds have plagued fire crews.

Evacuted a week ago on the day the fire started, Bob Haynie still checks on his home every day.

"It takes a lot of energy to be stressed out and after a while you run out of energy," Haynie said. "So you just go on and say, 'Okay, let see what happens now.'"

Wind prevented firefighters from conducting burnouts on Sunday, but cooler temperatures and humidity over the weekend provided them an opportunity to get ahead of the flames. They were able to increase containment lines and allow more homeowners to get back inside the fire zone. Lightning that was in the forecast did not materialize.

No new road closures have been issued. S.R. 970 and S.R. 97 have been reopened. The temporary restriction on drinking water in Sunlight Waters was lifted Saturday night.

The fire is believed to have been started by construction work on the nearby Taylor Bridge.

Weather forecast for the fire zone

See maps of the fire lines and evacuation areas

Dept. of Agriculture seeking information on animals

The Kittitas County Sheriff's Office says the Washington State Department of Agriculture have asked evacuees to contact the Emergency Operations Center with numbers and types of animals that were left behind, as well as the number of types of deceased animals. Get contact information here

As residents return to their homes and properties, Dr. Michael Fuller with the Ellensburg Animal Hospital is offering cremation of domestic animals (dogs and cats) lost in the fire, at no charge to fire victims.  Contact the clinic for more information, (509) 925-2833.

Firefighters say thank you - no donations needed

Fire officials are thanking people who have generously offered support to the firefighters working the Taylor Bridge fire, but said no additional donations are needed. Anyone wanting to contribute to neighbors affected by the fire should direct their contributions to one of the agencies identified below:

Wildland Firefighter Foundation (208) 336-2996
2049 Airport Way,Boise ID 83705
http://www.wffoundation.org

Red Cross (509)925-5866
Accepting financial contributions only

Cle Elum Eagles Club (509) 674-2385
Accepting clothing at Clothing Store locations:
118E 1st Street, Cle Elum WA 98922
220 Pennsylvania Ave., Cle Elum WA 98922

Cle Elum Hope Source (509) 925-1448
Accepting non-perishable food and pet food at:
110 N Pennsylvania Avenue, Cle Elum, WA 98922

ARRF Animal Rescue (509) 304-4805
Accepting pet food and pet supply donations, carriers and livestock hauling
Monetary donation can be made online at http://www.arrfanimalrescue.org/

Ellensburg Chamber of Commerce (509) 925-2002
Accepting financial and general donations, clothing and non-perishable food at:
609 N Main, Ellensburg, WA 98926 (corner of 7th and Main)

Washington Cattlemen's Association (509) 925-9877
Accepting financial donations, feed and fencing supplies at:
1301N. Dolarway, Ellensburg, WA 98926

Resources

Kittitas County has set up a 211 phone line to provide citizens with specific contact information for agencies providing health and human services, animal services, recovery, housing and food assistance, as well as donations.

Anyone who needs these types of services, or information from these agencies, should dial "211" to acquire the necessary information.

Emergency shelters: 

     -- Cle Elum Centennial Senior Center, 719 E. Third Street, Cle Elum, (509) 963-1141
     -- Central Washington University, Munson Dorms, Ellensburg, (509) 674-7530
     -- Animals evacuated to the Kittitas County Fairground

Donations are being accepted by the Red Cross. The Kittitas County Sheriff has said money, not goods, are the best way to help residents. Find out how you can help.

Related links:

Info: How you can help

Kittitas Community Connect Facebook page

Facebook page for evacuated and injured pets and animals

VCA Animal hospitals in the Western Washington area are offering free boarding assistance for small animals whose families have lost their homes or are among those evacuated. Call the VCA Redmond Animal Hospital at 425-885-1476 for more information.

Stunning fire photos from Daily Record newspaper

Watch: SkyKING video over burned homes, structures

Photos of the fire can be sent to KING 5 via email, Twitter, Facebook, or posted directly to KING5.com using Your News.

Associated Press and KING 5 reporting.

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