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Taylor Bridge fire 25 percent contained

Thu., Aug. 16, 2012

Official: I-90 remains open, but conditions could change

Interstate 90 remained open Wednesday as crews battled the Taylor Bridge fire near Cle Elum, Wash., but sections of other roads were closed.

“It will remain open right now,” Megan McDunn, of the state Department of Transportation, said of the main east-west route across the state. “It all depends on the wind.”

On Wednesday, the state closed a section of U.S. Highway 97 that goes north from Ellensburg to Wenatchee. A section of state Route 10 between Ellensburg and Cle Elum was also closed because of the fire. Travelers to Wenatchee were rerouted farther west on I-90 to Cle Elum, then onto state Route 970 to connect with U.S. 97 north of the fire.

By Wednesday afternoon, the fire had scorched an estimated 28,000 acres and destroyed at least 60 homes, although fire officials said an exact count will be difficult until conditions improve and hundreds of people who were evacuated can return home.

Fire spokesman Glenn Kohler said officials ordered more evacuations late Wednesday on the fire’s north flank.

The number of firefighters on the scene grew to about 900 as crews from the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Corrections, local fire agencies and the National Guard were called in, along with air tankers, helicopters and bulldozers.

Firefighters have managed to contain 25 percent of the fire, they announced Wednesday evening, up from the previously announced 10 percent.

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