Topic: Cle Elum
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November 1, 2013 at 3:54 PM
Two young children died in an intense house fire this afternoon in Cle Elum despite the rescue efforts of their mother, police and firefighters.
Shortly after 12:30 p.m., Kittitas County firefighters were called to a house on Third Street for a report of a house fire with two children inside, according to the Kittitas County Fire District No. 7.
When the distraught mother was forced to retreat from the fully engulfed home, she told police her two children were still inside. (more…)
October 16, 2013 at 1:22 PM
The Associated Press
ELLENSBURG — The Kittitas County sheriff’s office says a Cle Elum man was killed Wednesday morning in a farming accident involving a backhoe.
The sheriff’s office says 37-year-old Shawn Tolbert may have placed a piece of metal on the foot pedal that operates a boom as he stepped outside.
He was fatally injured when the boom swung to the side, pinning him against the backhoe.
March 8, 2013 at 8:00 AM
The Associated Press
ELLENSBURG – A cougar killed a small dog Wednesday night in Cle Elum when the owner let the dog outside.
Washington State Fish and Wildlife Capt. Rich Mann told the Daily Record the cougar grabbed the dog and took off.
Kittitas County sheriff’s deputies and State Patrol troopers responded but were unable to find any trace of the cougar.
Mann says it will be killed if it is found because it killed a pet.
He says the cougar may be a female with cubs that was spotted on a trail camera east of town.
September 21, 2012 at 9:37 PM
The Associated Press
OLYMPIA – Washington state has warned a construction company that it will be liable for property damages and firefighting costs if investigators determine its work started a wildfire northwest of Ellensburg.
The Washington state Department of Transportation notified Conway Construction Co. by letter on Friday that its contract makes the company responsible for safety at the work site, especially risks of fire.
The Taylor Bridge Fire is believed to have originated Aug. 13 at a bridge construction site near Cle Elum. The project is under contract to Conway Construction and its subcontractors.
The Department of Natural Resources has not yet completed its investigation into the fire’s cause.
The fire blackened more than 36 square miles, or 23,500 acres, and destroyed nearly 100 structures. It was fully contained at the end of August.
August 28, 2012 at 8:16 PM
CLE ELUM, Kittitas County – Firefighting officials say a stubborn wildfire that destroyed dozens of homes in central Washington has been completely contained after a two-week fight.
Spokesmen for the Taylor Bridge fire announced full containment Tuesday evening. The blaze that started Aug. 13 east of Cle Elum has burned more than 36 square miles, or 23,500 acres, about 75 miles east of Seattle.
The number of firefighters has been reduced from hundreds to just 40, who continue work to douse hot spots within the fire perimeter.
Authorities have confirmed 61 homes and 35 outbuildings were destroyed and about seven other properties were damaged.
The fire started near a bridge construction site, though the exact cause remains under investigation.
August 21, 2012 at 6:56 PM
The Associated Press
YAKIMA – Fire crews have a Washington wildfire that destroyed dozens of homes near Cle Elum 90 percent contained.
Fire spokesman Glenn Kohler says fire crews expect to have the Taylor Bridge Fire fully contained on Friday.
Kohler says crews dealt with rough terrain and winds gusting to 25 mph on Tuesday. The fire has burned across more than 36 square miles, about 23,450 acres.
August 18, 2012 at 1:07 PM
Firefighters upgraded an emergency warning to residents north of Highway 970 east of Cle Elum today, even as they said the Taylor Bridge Fire was 40 percent contained.
Nearly 1,000 firefighters continued to battle the blaze, which remained dangerous in the face of “very hot, dry and unstable conditions” with temperatures of up to 100 degrees possible, state Incident Management Team 2 said in an update late Saturday morning.
A 100-acre spot fire west of Highway 97 and northeast of Hidden Valley Road was contained Friday night with the help of five helicopters, two structure-protection strike teams, and aircraft dropping flame retardant chemicals.
But a Level 2 alert was issued for an area that includes Swauk Prairie Road and six other roads north of Highway 970, meaning residents should consider evacuating and should be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
The fire has raged over more than 23,000 acres.
August 16, 2012 at 2:27 PM
CLE ELUM — Firefighters battling the Taylor Bridge wildfire are facing a hotter day Thursday than Wednesday, with temperatures likely to reach 85 degrees on the ridges, 95 degrees in the valleys.
“Winds are still relatively light, but the temperature is up and humidity is down,” Mick Mueller, an incident command spokesman, said Thursday morning. “That’s going to make for active firefighting today.”
Firefighters are also expecting gusts of wind from 15 to 20 miles per hour late this afternoon.
Conditions may get worse as the weekend approaches. The National Weather Service has issued a Fire Weather Warning for Friday and Saturday, and temperatures could break 100 degrees in the valleys, especially in the lowlands along the Yakima River and near Ellensburg, on the fire’s southeastern flank. Isolated thunderstorms and lightning strikes are also possible on Saturday.
Air quality is another matter.
“I know people are concerned,” said Marna Carroll, 42, the summer coordinator at a historic mill in Thorp, southeast of the fire. A group of older people had been scheduled to tour the mill on Thursday but canceled at the last minute, she said, partly because of the air quality.
The air has also been smoky in Hidden Valley, to the north of the fire, where Dale Johnson wore a surgical mask while working outdoors Wednesday. And when Carroll took her daughter swimming in Ellensburg, she brought her to Memorial Pool — an indoor facility.
“You notice that kind of around town not many people are hanging out outside,” she said.
August 15, 2012 at 5:41 PM
The American Red Cross is accepting donations to help support people affected by the Taylor Bridge Fire. An estimated 70 homes have been destroyed and hundreds of people had to evacuate their homes.
The Red Cross has a shelter at the Centennial Senior Center in Cle Elum at 719 E. 3rd Street. The agency is also assisting Central Washington University with its shelter at Munson Hall. The two shelters served 45 people Tuesday night. In addition, the Red Cross is supplying food and water to hundreds of firefighters.
To help, donations to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief can be made at www.redcross.org or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. People can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions can be made by mail at: PO Box 37243, Washington DC, 20013.
People affected by the fires can also use the Red Cross Safe and Well website to let family and friends know where they are.
A list of local places to donate or help is compiled on this Facebook page.
August 15, 2012 at 4:43 PM
As flames burned through the trees on the ridge a mile or so from his home on Wednesday afternoon, Dale Johnson wasn’t getting ready to flee. Instead, he was gassing up a lawnmower.
Johnson, 65, wore a surgical mask to protect him from the smoke in the air. The idea, he said, was to cut down the tall prairie grass around his home to slow the fire’s progress and keep it from jumping should it reach his land — which looked like a possibility.
“It seems like it’s coming more and more this way,” he said, looking out at the flames.
Johnson and most of his neighbors on Leo Lane, a short road with half a dozen houses about 10 miles east of Cle Elum, seem to be sticking it out as the Taylor Bridge Fire, consumed the land about a mile to the south. One neighbor, Ed Eusterbrock, said he had trimmed his trees and watered everything. Another piled fresh dirt at the base of each of the pine trees on his land.
Eusterbrock, 68, said he and his wife had packed everything up on Tuesday and were ready to leave for their son’s house, a few miles away, if the fire got much closer. Johnson had packed up, too, he said, and woke up every hour Tuesday night to make sure the fire hadn’t crept any closer.
As a helicopter flew over the smoke rising from Lookout Mountain near from the burning ridge, Johnson said he never imagined anything like this when he bought the house four years ago.
“We’ve asked around,” he said, “and they’ve never had anything like this.”
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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