UPDATE: Colockum Tarps Fire Evacuation Changes - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

UPDATE: Colockum Tarps Fire Evacuation Changes

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UPDATE: KITTAS CO., Wash. - The Kittitas County Sheriff's Office says county roads, affected by the Colockum Tarps Fire, will reopen Thursday at noon.

Sheriff's say the 80,184-acre fire is now 98% contained.  Some fire crews will continue working the next several days on rehabilitating the areas impacted by fire suppression actions.

UPDATE: KITTITAS CO., Wash. -- The Kittitas County Sheriff's Office has completed Level 3 evacuation notifications for the Colockum Tarps Fire. There are approximately 100 structures in the evacuation area, including primary residences and recreational properties. The Sheriff's Office has confirmed 71 residents have evacuated, while some residents have opted to stay in place.

The evacuation areas are: the Upper Park Creek, Secret Canyon, Hill Top, upper sections of Little Caribou, Sheep Creek and Trail Creek.

To see a map of the evacuation levels, click here.

A public meeting will be held on Thursday, August 1St, at 6pm, at Central Washington University's Student Union Recreation Center, Ballroom B & C, second floor, 400 E. University Way, Ellensburg.  Representatives from the Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center and the Washington Incident Management Team #4 will be present to give a fire update and answer questions.


KITTITAS CO, Wash.--It's been nearly a year since the Taylor Bridge Wildfire in Kittitas County, but people there are now experiencing the same sights and smells.

The Colockum Tarps Fire is pushing further into the county and clouding the area with thick smoke.

Cecelia Armijo is back in the same church doing the same routine. Except, this time the raging wildfire is getting a little too personal.

"Just basically snowing ash and embers and patios and walks are covered, cars," said Armijo.

Even though the growing Colockum Tarps Fire is burning near her home, Cecilia keeps busy by preparing for the dozens of evacuees that could walk through the doors of Mercer Creek Church in Ellensburg at any moment.

The Kittitas County Sheriff's Office said around 25 homes`in the Upper Parke Creek and Secret Canyon areas were vacated. As the fire quickly spreads, more people living along Cooke Canyon and Gage Road are being told to leave, but sheriff's deputies said it could be a lot worse.

"I guess if there's an upside to this fire, is that the country that it's in is primarily state land, sage brush and timber," said Kittitas County Undersheriff, Clay Myers.

"My husband and I were like losing a little bit of sleep last night," said Armijo. "We're just thinking abut what can happen and just hoping that it doesn't get any bigger."

The Colockum Tarps Fire has burned more than 66,000 acres since it started on Saturday. It's 8 percent contained.

Crews said the potential for this fire to keep expanding is extreme.

People in need of a place to stay can get help from the Red Cross at the Mercer Creek Church in Ellensburg. They can also take their animals to the Kittitas Valley Event Center.


KITTITAS COUNTY, Wash. - There are changes to evacuation levels in areas around the Colockum Tarps fire in Kittitas County.  Here's the latest information from the Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center.

Kittitas County, WA -07/31/2013 - The Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center has upgraded Level 1 and 2 Evacuation areas to Level 3 effective immediately due to increased movement of the Colockum Tarps Fire.

The following areas are now at a Level 3 notice and residents are advised to evacuate immediately: the area north of the intersection of Christensen Road and Parke Creek Road, northwest to the intersection of Cooke Canyon Road and Gage Road, and Cooke Canyon Road north of Gage Road


The Wild Horse Wind Farm is now closed to the public.


Also due to the fire spreading south, the Vantage boat launch and parking area are closed.

The EOC has issued a Level 2 Evacuation notice for residences on the north side of Vantage Highway east of the Operating Engineers' Training Facility to the wind farm boundary.  Residents are advised to be prepared to leave at a moment's notice.


The Red Cross has opened an emergency shelter at the Mercer Creek Church, 1407 N. B Street, Ellensburg.  We would ask that anyone from the evacuation area who will be staying with family or friends, please provide contact information to the EOC at 509-933-8305 so we can provide you with updates.


An animal shelter is also in place at the Kittitas Valley Event Center for anyone evacuating their animals.  Check-in is located at the Western Town Ticket Center at Alder Street and 8th Avenue.  If possible, please call the shelter prior to your arrival, 509-933-8399, to advise what type of animals and quantity you are bringing in.


Residents affected by the fire can contact the EOC during business hours, 8:00am-5:00pm, or Kittcom at 509-925-8534 during non-business hours.  For fire information, please visit http://inciweb.org/incident/3567/, or contact the Colockum Tarps Fire at 509-662-9984.

Kittitas County, from the Cascades to the Columbia, and online at http://www.co.kittitas.wa.us
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