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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

August 14, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Firefight will be from the air now; wildfire moving too fast

This is the view looking towards Sunshine Waters where helicopters are getting water from Yakima River and dropping it on fire. (Photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

Fighting the wildfire burning between Cle Elum and Ellensburg will be from the air this afternoon, say state officials, because the ever-expanding blaze is moving too fast to fight it on the ground.

In a perfect world, said Bryan Flint, chief spokesman with the Department of Natural Resources, the best way to fight the fire would be to dig a perimiter around it using bulldozers or shovels. But, he added, that would be impossible because “this fire is moving so fast.”

“Right now the priority is life and property, protecting structures and getting air support,'” Flint said. “This is a pretty significant fire in terms of structures lost, its proximity to two communties, the speed in which it has grown.”

A specialty team made up of experienced firefighters from across the state  has been brought in to battle the Taylor Bridge Fire.

Meanwhile, Gov. Chris Gregoire is in the process of declaring a state of emergency for the area, Flint said.

Around 1 a.m., the Federal Emergency Management Agency freed up funds to help pay for firefighting costs, Flint said.

Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources Peter Goldmark is expected to arrive in Cle Elum this afternoon.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: Cle Elum, Taylor Bridge Wildfire, Washington State Department of Natural Resources

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