Massive Wildfire Near Ellensburg Caused By Work Crew – Now 27,000 Acres
Officials now say the massive Taylor Bridge fire burning near Thorp and Cle Elum was apparently caused by a crew working near Taylor Bridge less than 13 miles north of Ellensburg.The fire exploded overnight from around 2,000 acres to more than 27,000 acres, according to the Ellensburg Daily Record Newspaper. It has had an impact on Tri-Cities as air quality was poor Tuesday morning and over the Columbia River.
Officials say a crew working to clear brush from Taylor Bridge near Cle Elum accidentally ignited the fire, which jumped from about 150 acres to an uncontrollable 2,000-acre blaze. Overnight it exploded with dry brush, grass and trees providing fuel faster than crews could contain it. Other media reports indicate 20,000 acres have been burned, but Ellensburg Media are reporting 27,000.
Air quality alerts have been issued in Benton and Franklin Counties because of the smoke drifting in. Authorities say over 500 people have been evacuated and the fire is at last report is uncontained.
Miraculously, no fatalities have been reported. Officials say it's the largest fire of the season so far in Washington State.
These remarkable photos are courtesy of Brian Myrick at the Ellensburg Daily Record who has been chasing the fire as it rages through Kittitas County. Authorities report the flames are as high as 15-20 feet tall, and heat can be felt inside a car 200-300 feet away! Some of these pictures have a very apocalyptic look to them.