Over 28,000 acres charred in wildfire - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Over 28,000 acres charred in wildfire

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NEAR CLE ELUM, Wash.-- Fire crews continue to battle the Taylor Bridge Fire that's burning between Ellensburg and Cle Elum. Luckily, cool weather overnight gave crews a chance to catch up.

"Today, good day for the firefighters. We're feeling good, we have a little cooler temperatures, little higher relative humidity,"

A little over 28,000 acres burned. That's the new estimate from crews battling the massive Taylor Bridge Fire, near Cle Elum.

And while the fire continues to rage out of control, Incident Commander Rex Reed says Wednesday's weather is helping the more than 800 firefighters get a handle on it.

"Last night we had less activity then occurred in the initial run of the fire. Winds died off a little bit, we had better humidity recovery," said Reed.

Crews are very busy out here today, in fact they're using some fire retardant. You can see a home up on the ridge here, evidence of that fire retardant with its reddish color.

Reed says evacuation orders are still in place for many of the 450 residents directly affected by this fire. Like Mary Belbeck, who had to leave her home and has been living in a borrowed RV for three days.

"They come through and says, everybody has to evacuate. So I went through the house and got what I could and we left," said Belbeck.

Mary says her home is still standing, but sadly, at least sixty others have been lost in this devastating fire.

Evacuation orders have been lifted for some residents, people living in the Wilson Creek, Alford Road and other eastern areas have been allowed to return.

Wednesday, crews were focusing their fight on the northeastern side of the fire.

They hope to have it 25% contained by the end of the day, but with more dry weather and a chance of lightning expected later in the week, things could definitely turn back around.

"Although we are in the middle of August, it is always dry in eastern Washington, it is currently very dry. We are in, what I would classify, high to extreme burning conditions," said Reed.

He says this destructive fire was caused by a DOT contractor working on the Taylor Bridge, just outside of Cle Elum. The exact cause, still under investigation.

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