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August 19, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Taylor Bridge fire containment expected on Monday

Fire fighters tackling the Taylor Bridge fire near Cle Elum  hope to fully contain the 23,252-acre blaze by Monday if the weather continues to cooperate.

Crews working overnight held fire lines on the fire’s northwest perimeter, said Jessica Payne, spokesman for the Taylor Bridge Fire Information Center. A mandatory evacuation notice, imposed on Saturday, remains in effect in the area west of Highway 97 and north of Highway 970.

“We had great progress overnight,” said Payne.

Potential thunderstorms forecast for overnight did not result in new lightning strikes. Northwest gusts of up to 25 miles per hour expected on Sunday are likely to push fire back into areas already contained, she said.

Containment is currently at about 43 percent, but Payne said fire managers have offered a “very optimistic forecast” for full containment by the end of Sunday. More cautiously, full containment is expected by Monday, weather permitting.

Residents can expect to see lots of smoke on Sunday as crews burn a 150-foot-wide strip to help with containment. “We need to get word out to residents” that fresh smoke plumes do not indicate a worsening of the fire, Payne said.

The fire, apparently started Monday by state road crews, has destroyed 48 homes and 15 outbuildings, with a survey of damaged areas 60 percent completed. Nearly 1,000 personnel are involved in fire fighting efforts.

Donations are no longer needed at the fire camp, Payne said. For information about organizations helping fire victims, click here.

Comments | Topics: Taylor Bridge Wildfire

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