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Dangerous Wildfire Near Ellensburg Still Growing

Tom Banse


CLE ELUM, Wash. – Washington’s lieutenant governor has declared a state of emergency in central Washington because of a still-growing wildfire. The emergency declaration allows the National Guard to lend helicopters to the firefighting effort.

The blaze has chased hundreds of people from their homes between Cle Elum and Ellensburg.

Tuesday State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark called the wildfire “one of the most dangerous” Washington state has experienced “in the last number of years.”

“One testament to the degree to which the fire is so dangerous is the fact that it is able to jump the nearby river," he said. "It jumps highways ... a burning ember under the force of the wind and the hot embers that are released through burning fuels. So it’s an explosive, dangerous situation.”

Goldmark toured the fire lines Tuesday afternoon before visiting the command center in Cle Elum. There, the incident commander says the blaze has destroyed more than 70 homes at this point.

Neither official would estimate when the growing blaze could be contained. They say they need the gusty winds to die down first.

On the Web:

Taylor Bridge fire:

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