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Taylor Bridge Wildfire Update

Patricia Murphy

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire says she is closely monitoring the Taylor Bridge Wildfire and she has asked the Washington Department of Emergency Management to make fighting the fire a priority.


The fast moving blaze has grown to more than 26,000 acres.

By the governor's order inmates from the Washington Department of Corrections are working alongside hundreds of firefighters to try and contain the fire.

Officials say more than 60 homes and 40 other structures have been destroyed since the fire began Monday. It started in Cle Elum, but is now within five miles of Ellensburg. Many livestock have been set free. Hundreds of residents have been evacuated.

Dan Catchpole is a reporter for the Yakima Herald:

Catchpole: "No one has been able to remember a fire quite this magnitude before in this area. It's certainly bigger than they're used to, but they're worried — they don't know if they've lost their homes."

Many evacuees and some firefighters are being housed at Central Washington University. So far there have been no injuries.

The fire was started by construction crews working on the Taylor Bridge Project. Wind and temperatures above 90 degrees are expected over the next few days. That won't help firefighters.

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire could declare a state of emergency. If she does, that would allow the National Guard to be called up to help.

Patricia Murphy, KUOW News.

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