Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Fire east of Cle Elum contained, State Route 10 reopens

Tribune News Service

YAKIMA — Emergency responders will continue mop-up operations today on a smoldering 45-acre fire site about 5 miles east of Cle Elum, which had been fully contained Sunday but not controlled.

As of early Sunday evening, operations included 20 engines and about 40 responders, said Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Debbie Robinson.

The news is optimistic, Robinson said, as there is a chance it could be controlled Monday.

Meanwhile, a 15-mile stretch of State Route 10 reopened Sunday afternoon some 24 hours after being closed Saturday as a result of the fire.

Drivers are advised to watch for fire equipment entering and leaving the highway, according to the state Department of Transportation.

The state route, which runs between the junctions of U.S. Highway 97 west of Ellensburg and State Route 970 east of Cle Elum, was closed about 1 p.m. Saturday.

The original goal was to have the fire fully contained by Sunday evening, said Robinson. No injuries or building losses have been reported.

Six homes in the area were evacuated, but Robinson said the evacuation orders would be lifted later Sunday.

Cause of the fire is blamed on a sparks when a tire blew out on a boat trailer being towed on SR 10, according to a news release issued by the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office.

The fire is in the same area of the devastating August 2012 Taylor Bridge fire that destroyed 61 homes and blackened 36 square miles. State officials have said that fire likely was caused by sparks from welding or cutting work on a bridge project on State Route 10.

The forecast calls for strong winds the remainder of the holiday weekend. Robinson advised the public to be cautious with any festivities.