Updated 5:45 p.m.: No structures have been lost, nor are any threatened in Kittitas County, but the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office has preliminary evacuation notifications in place for the Colockum Tarps Fire in eastern Kittitas County.
The fire started near the intersection of Colockum Road and Tarpiscan Road south of Malaga in Chelan County at about 8 a.m. Saturday.
The fire was estimated at 39 square miles and straddles the Chelan-Kittitas line. Evacuation notices were issued to 60 homes and cabins in Chelan County. Three homes and several outbuildings have been lost near Malaga.
The Kittitas County Sheriff's Office issued level two notices for Colockum Pass Road north of the end of the pavement, Trail Creek Road, Sheep Creek Road, Tucker Creek Road, Secret Canyon Road, Ryegrass Ranches Road and Parke Creek Road north of the end of the pavement, including Hilltop Loop.
For level two notices, residents should prepare to leave at a moment’s notice.
Karen Ripley, spokeswoman for the incident command team, said firefighters had the most success on the northeast side of the fire near the Columbia River on Monday.
Much of that edge of the fire was burning in grass, easing crews’ efforts to stem its spread, she said.
On the northwest side, firefighters are still working to put in control lines.
On the south end, in Kittitas County, helicopters overhead and firefighters on the ground worked to more accurately size up the fire so managers could formulate a plan.
Ripley told the Associated Press fire officials are working on a plan to stop the fire at a ridge north of the Wild Horse wind farm, which was about eight miles from the flames on Monday afternoon. She estimates the fire is at least two days away from that point.
Grass and brush
The fire has been burning through grass and brush, especially on the south side, and up through timber in draws and into continuous forests at higher elevation.
Monday’s forecasted winds at the fire called for a complex combination northeast and northwesterly winds at the fire, along with winds trending upslope in the morning and downslope later in the day.
“There’s also lot of idiosyncrasies in those canyons just because of the different land forms,” Ripley said.
Planners met Monday afternoon to determine the next step for attacking the fire’s southern edge.
Contingencies include containing the fire along Brushy Creek or dropping back to try holding it on Quilomene Ridge Road.
“Some of that depends on what they can figure out tonight and what happens to the fire tonight,” she said.
The following roads are closed to public access: Colockum Road at the end of the pavement, Schnebly Canyon Road at the green gate (at the intersection of Fairview and Thomas Roads), Parke Creek Road at the end of the county road, Coleman Canyon Road at the end of the county road, and Cooke Canyon Road at the end of the county road.
The Wild Horse Wind Farm’s Renewable Energy Center is open, but the road is closed except for property owners and fire personnel on Beacon Ridge Road past the visitor center.