Table Mountain Fire

Fire crews perform a planned burnout operation along U.S. Highway 97 near Blewett Pass on Wednesday. (Debby Kelly, Public Affairs Specialist, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest)

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The Table Mountain Fire was considered 35 percent contained this morning, a jump from 20 percent just a day ago, as more than 1,400 personnel continue to fight the fire that’s been burning since being sparked by a severe lighting storm on Sept. 8.

“You hear the term ‘mop up’ more and more,” said fire information officer Steve Stine.

The fire has burned about 38,267 acres — nearly 60 square miles — with minimal growth over the past few days. Backburn operations are continuing today and over the next few days, which will add to the smoky conditions in Kittitas County.

On Thursday fire managers planned to do burnouts using aerial ignition, but after several attempted test burns, it was called off because winds from the south weren’t cooperating, Stine said. Aerial burnouts will be attempted again today.

“The reason they’re using this strategy is because the weather forecast for the next three weeks shows no fire-ending precipitation events,” Stine said.

Drivers on U.S. Highway 97 over Blewett Pass can expect intermittent closures today and over the next few days due to smoke and fire activity near the roadway. The highway was closed this morning due to heavy smoke. Visit the state Department of Transportation’s website, www.wsdot.wa.gov, or call 511 for updated road conditions.

Fire managers are hoping for full containment of the Table Mountain Fire on Oct. 5, provided weather conditions cooperate, Stine said.

Level 3 (mandatory) evacuation orders remain in place for the areas within the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest that are accessed by Upper Green Canyon Road, Reecer Creek Road north of the upper sno-park, and Wilson Creek Road, according to information from the Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center. Many roads remain closed.

For more information about evacuations and road closures, call the EOC at 933-8305, or check the county’s website at www.co.kittitas.wa.us.

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