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Taylor Bridge Fire Still Blazing

Lesley McClurg

Firefighters hope to have the Taylor Bridge wildfire near Cle Elum fully contained by Tuesday evening. Winds and flare–ups in the fire's northern flanks have made it difficult for firefighters to get the upper hand.


The Taylor Bridge fire is about 50 percent contained. The north aspect of Lookout Mountain has been the most difficult area to control.

Peter Goldmark: "We have been doing some burn out up in that area to strengthen and widen the fire line and that's been a little tricky. Winds were pretty strong this morning. This afternoon they have actually lessened. Hopefully we are going to be able to finish most of that burnout today."

That's Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands, Peter Goldmark. He says there may be increased smoke along the northern edge of the fire for a few days, but residents shouldn't be alarmed. Firefighters are burning out the area to prevent future flames.

So far the fire has cost over $6 million. Goldmark hopes the final price tag won't top $10 million.

The fire has scorched 23,000 acres and destroyed 48 homes. About 60 homes remain threatened.

Over the weekend two more fires began in Eastern Washington near Diamond Peak and Buffalo Lake.

Goldmark says our forests are blazing because our trees are in bad shape.

Goldmark: "Over in Eastern Washington the forest health issue is dire. And there's a lot of bug damage that's been brought on by drought, overstocked stands, which has put a lot of the forest at risk. These fires that we have are fed by dry fuels that are the result of bug kill. And so we desperately need to get in and remove the dead and dying material."

The legislature set aside over $4 million this year to remove dead trees, but Goldmark says much more than that is needed to get our forests healthy. For now he says the fire risk is very high. He recommends that recreationalists be very careful playing in the woods during our final hot weeks of summer.

For KUOW, I'm Lesley McClurg.

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