Gov. Inslee declares state of emergency as wildfires rip through Washington
CLE ELUM, Wash. (KOMO) - Gov. Jay Inslee proclaimed a state of emergency Saturday evening across all Washington counties due to growing wildfire concern.
Families near Cle Elum are still being evacuated as the Jolly Mountain Fire continues to spread. Hundreds of people are under level two and three evacuations, authorities say.
Nearly 1,000 residences have been evacuated under level 3, the most urgent level, and about 1,200 have been put on level 2 evacuations, meaning families should be ready to go at a moment's notice.
The Jolly Mountain blaze has burned through more than 18,000 acres. It is zero percent contained.
Stacy Walker and her family are packed up and ready to go. They have been put under level 2 evacuations.
"It’s really , really insane, knowing we have a fire right here and a fire right over here, we’re completely surrounded, " Walker said. "So that gives you a really uneasy feeling."
There is also an at least 17,400 acre wildfire is also burning near Mount Rainier. There is some concern that the Norse Peak Fire could threaten the Crystal Mountain Ski area. Officials says it could be early October before the fire is fully contained.
A third blaze, the Uno Peak Fire, has forced the closure of the South Navarre Campground and nearby trails in Lake Chelan. The fire has burned through at least 400 acres since it started Thursday.
Law enforcement went door-to-door in Cle Elum Saturday with evacuation notices for people who live north of the Double O Ranch Road to the Boulder Creek area. The Kittitas County Sheriff's Office says people who live this area are under a Level 3 evacuation notice. the Teanaway Meadows area was upgraded to level 3 evacuation,
Level three evacuations mean that people are advised to leave immediately. Level two evacuations mean residents should be prepared to evacuate.
Areas under a level 2 evacuation notice include: All residences between Double O Ranch Road and Ronald, the entire town of Ronald, the entire City of Roslyn to the Bullfrog Road roundabout, and Cle Elum Ridge, including Summit View Road, Ridge View Drive, Big Sky Vista Drive, Horizon Ridge Drive, Deer Creek Road, Meadow Ridge Drive, Big Tail Road, Forest Ridge Road, Jack Pine Drive, Game Trail Road, Owl Ridge Drive, Timber Tiger Drive, Lum Road, the north part of White Road, Lannigan Springs Road, Winch Road, Buena View Road, Adobe Road.
The Red Cross Cross has opened a shelter at the Putnam Centennial Center in Cle Elum for evacuees.
KOMO News spoke to a meteorologist Saturday who says instability in the atmosphere is causing embers to go up into the air, then spread out to other areas.
This makes the fire tough to fight, officials say.
High pressure sitting right over top of us is really drying things out and no prospects for rainfall,” John Pendergrast, an incident meteorologist, said. “For the rest of the weekend we’re gonna gave unstable afternoon conditions with very hot conditions and a little bit of wind helping to push the fires.”
Officials say hotter than normal temperatures for September are making things worse. The Jolly Mountain fire has already burned through at leasy 14,500 acres.
People in the area say smoke from the fire is visible for miles.
"There’s that twinge in the back of your mind that thinks what if my house burns down and it’s scary," Walker added. "
Losing everything, and starting over, that’s kind of a hard one to swallow.”
The Sheriff's Office says updated Level 1 evacuation notices, in which people are warned of approaching fire, include Suncadia Resort; all residences/homes south of state Route 903 and north of Interstate 90 from Bullfrog Road to Cle Elum city limits; the City of Elum north of I-90; east of Cle Elum and north of Airport Road.