Raging wildfire continues to threaten homes

Weather Talk

POSTED: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 - 2:30pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 - 2:34pm

The weather may cooperate with firefighters on the front lines of Washington State's Taylor Bridge wildfire Wednesday, giving them a chance to get ahead of the flames.

"A pretty good note on the weather -- it's not getting worse," said Mark Clemens with Emergency Management. "Yesterday there were gusts up to 35 mph."

Winds in Kittitas County are forecasted to ease off and shift to the east and northeast.

Wind gusts could peak at 20 mph today.

Though winds won't be as problematic, heat will continue to be a major factor.

Temperatures will remain in the low 90s, but there is no immediate threat of lightning.

The fire has a line around only 10 percent of it, mostly in the southeast corner.

"It's a good day to fight fire," said Clemens. "More resources are coming in."

More than 800 firefighters are expected to converge on the 28,000 acre fire Wednesday, coming from all over the state.

In addition, six new strike teams, two National Guard helicopters, and 140 inmates from the Washington Department of Corrections are helping the effort.

Firefighters will make a major push to protect the Hidden Valley area on the north edge of the fire, where homeowners are poised for possible evacuation.

"It was pretty amazing yesterday just watching it...hit a particularly sappy tree and you'd watch it just explode, massive fireball," said Derrick Rucker, who lives nearby.

More than 100 structures have been destroyed by the Taylor Bridge fire, including 70 homes.

Of the estimated 500 families evacuated, some haven't seen their houses in more than 24 hours, unsure whether they are still standing.  

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