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Updated 5:30 p.m.: The Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office said Friday evening that Colockum Tarps Fire evacuation orders and road closures for the Parke Creek, Secret Canyon, Secret Canyon, Caribou Canyon and Colockum areas will remain in effect.

Sheriff’s office staff will coordinate with the fire’s incident command team Saturday about letting people return home. The fire burning in the eastern part of Kittitas County was 35 percent contained Friday afternoon.

They encouraged anyone who has had to leave their homes but hasn’t given contact information to the county emergency operations center or Kittcom to call either at 509-933-8305 so residents can be informed as soon as evacuations notices change.

The Red Cross emergency shelter at Mercer Creek Church remained open Friday night. The emergency animal shelter set up at the Kittitas County Fairgrounds shifted to a standby role Friday. The shelter will no longer be staffed during the daytime, but evacuees can still arrange to drop off animals by calling Kittcom at 925-8534. The shelter will remain in place as long as evacuation notices continue, Fairgrounds Director Matt Anderson said. It housed 10 animals Friday afternoon.

Updated 10 a.m.: Authorities confirmed three outbuildings in the Parke Creek area were destroyed in the Colockum Tarps Fire this week, but thanks in part to cooler air, sporadic rain and wind shifting back into the fire, its growth slowed on Thursday.

Firefighters have held the fire to 80,402 acres — 125 square miles — with about 30 percent containment as of this morning.

Kittitas County Undersheriff Clay Myers, at a public meeting with fire managers Thursday night at Central Washington University, said authorities will review the evacuation zones in the upper Parke Creek, upper Colockum and Secret Canyon areas this morning.

The sheriff’s office estimates there are about 40-45 structures in the evacuation areas, including primary residences and recreational properties. About a dozen evacuees attended the meeting.

The fire started Saturday south of Malaga in Chelan County. The cause has not been identified.

Incident management team operations section chief Pat Halford said the incident management team would probably be gone, and the fire would be handled by local firefighters by Tuesday. A fire camp was set up on Kittitas school grounds on Thursday.

Fire activity is light on the northern end of the fire in Chelan County, Halford said, and the majority of the fire’s current 800-some personnel will be working on the west and southwest parts of the fire today.

On the south end Wednesday and Thursday, firefighters held the fire along Quilomene Ridge Road with burn outs behind bulldozers. They were backed up with fire retardant drops.

Going north along old roads, trails and Beacon Ridge Road from an anchor at Quilomene Ridge, crews worked through Thursday to bring the line together along the west side up to ’dozer lines on Colockum Canyon Road.

“We hope to have, at the end of the shift today, about two miles left before we tie the fire perimeter together,” Halford said at the meeting. “Looking good, as long as there’s no strange event tonight that will actually push it out of there.”

Fire behavior

Fire behavior analyst Jen Croft said the fire’s ativity along the south and southwest has calmed, and planners’ main concern now shifts to the fire’s west side.

“What’s left now is the timber stringers,” she said, referring to wooded areas. “That’s where we’re putting the combination of our efforts at this time.”

The odds the fire will move west into the Colockum Canyon are low, she said. Any fire that works through the timber will end up in lighter, less continuous fuels, she said, giving firefighters easier opportunities to hold it.

Rain hammered the Wenatchee area Thursday, drenching the main fire camp and leaving about an inch of rain at the local airport, incident management team spokeswoman Mary Ellen Fitzgerald said.

Barely a tenth of an inch came down on the fire, she said. While today’s forecast calls for more isolated and sporadic thunderstorms in the area today, high humidity and west to northwest winds backing into the fire should continue


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