Dry winds and lots of fuel are making the Taylor Bridge Fire one of the most dangerous the state of Washington has seen in the last several years, said the Commissioner of Public Lands in a press briefing earlier this evening.
The fast-moving fire has prompted Governor Gregoire to declare a state of emergency in the area east of Cle Elum where the fire has burned close to 44 square miles of grasslands, timber and sagebrush. The declaration comes on the behalf of the Department of Natural Resources, and allows the National Guard to lend helicopters to the battle.
The Associated Press reports the blaze, which began at a construction site yesterday afternoon, has burned some 70 homes and forced the evacuation of at least 900 people in the area between Cle Elum and Ellensburg.
Fire team spokeswoman Josie Williams says hundreds of homes are threatened. There are evacuation orders for residences across the region.
Williams said firefighters from across the state are on their way to help – about 600 are expected to be working to contain the fire by tomorrow morning.
So far no injuries have been reported. Attempts by firefighters to contain the blaze have so far been unsuccessful. No official estimates have been made as to when the fire might be under control.