UPDATE: Colockum Tarps Fire Now At 80,400 Acres, 60% Contained - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

UPDATE: Colockum Tarps Fire Now At 80,400 Acres, 60% Contained

WENATCHEE, Wash. -

Press Release From Command Post:

Firefighting crews continued working hard to complete fire lines along the western perimeter of the Colockum Tarps Fire. They are making good progress in the steep, timbered draws along that flank of the fire. The remaining four and one half (4.5) miles of fire line construction require careful preparation in order to successfully burn out remaining fuels and secure the line.

Fire managers say that once the last segments of line are connected, weather conditions will determine how quickly crews can fully implement burn-out of the heavy fuels along the line and within the steep, forested canyons inside of the fire perimeter. Drier conditions are needed before these ground and aerial ignition operations can start. High relative humidity near 70 percent at the burn area will not allow for a clean, thorough reduction of fuels.

The 80,400-acre fire is now 60 percent contained. Two strike teams of engines will continue patrolling and mopping up during night shifts tonight.

Because of increasing temperatures and concern about the potential spread of the fire outside fire lines, evacuation levels for Kittitas County remain in effect. Level 3 evacuation status levels remain unchanged for the area west of the fire in Kittitas County where residents from approximately 45 structures are still evacuated. Level 1 Evacuation Notification is still in effect for vicinities accessed by Colockum Road, Tarpiscan Road, and Kingsbury Road in Chelan County. The Colockum Road is still closed in Kittitas County.

Firefighters continue work to rehabilitate hand and dozer-created fire lines along the northern-most and South Branch perimeters of the fire. Firefighters are mopping up the fire for the distance needed to provide containment inside all fire lines and 500 feet around structures.

High relative humidity, cooler temperatures, and cloud cover have kept fire activity at a minimum, the last couple of days. There is a slight chance of afternoon thunderstorms today and temperatures are predicted to climb early this week, increasing the potential for active fire behavior. Line establishment and reinforcement activities, including burn-outs, will help to make sure the fire stays within established perimeters.

The Colockum Tarps Fire has been burning since Saturday, July 27, 2013, through dry grass, sagebrush and timber growing in steep drainages along the western shore of the Columbia River, 11 miles southwest of Wenatchee, Washington. On July 31, the push from easterly winds moved the fire toward sparsely populated areas along the Parke, Caribou and Colockum Roads in Kittitas County where a Level 3 evacuation notice was issued.

Fire Facts – Sunday, August 4, 2013 – 0900 HOURS

Fire Size: approximately 80,400 acres Percent Contained: 60%

Evacuations: In effect in Kittitas and Chelan Counties. There are numerous road closures in the vicinity. The Red Cross Shelter is located at Mercer Creek Church, 1407 North E Street, Ellensburg, Wash. An animal shelter is available at the Kittitas Valley Event Center. For more information contact the Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center 509 933-8305.

Fuels: Grass, brush, with timber at the higher elevations

Air Resources: One light, one medium, and two heavy helicopters.

Crews: 3 Type I crews; 8 Type II crews

Engines: 71 Dozers: 8 Water Tenders: 13

Total Personnel: Approx. 780

Cost to Date: $5 million

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