Cle Elum 22,000+ acre fire called "crisis situation"

CLE ELUM and ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- Driving along HWY 97 it's almost impossible not to see the blanket of dark smoke covering the sky. Monday afternoon, Kittitas firefighters were called to a wildfire that started near HWY10 around Taylor and Lambert Road in Cle Elum.

At this time, they do not know how it started, but say the wind has only helped to spread over 13 miles in length. It jumped the highway and firefighters are now battling it on two fronts.

Fire officials tell us the fire has exceeded 10,000 acres and has already burned over 25 structures including some homes, and has forced them to evacuate dozens of others.

"Some of our neighbors have lost some of their home which is tragic news for us. We just hope that no one got hurt," said Cle Elum resident Barb Lisk.

Officials say that there are currently about 100 firemen here and now that they're getting help from the state. They say they're expecting close to 300 firefighters.

"They're working really hard. It's a really a crisis situation right now and we thought it's dinner time perhaps someone ought to remember the firefighters and take them something to eat," said Lisk.

Officials say right now their biggest priority is evacuation to protect residents and their homes. The Emergency Operations Center has ordered evacuations for the following areas: Bettas Valley, Swauk Valley, Teanaway, and homes on the westside of SR97 between SR97 and Swauk, SunEast, Upper Reecer Creek, Green Canyon, areas northeast of Ellensburg (specifically homes with no green/defendable space around them).

At this point, there have been no reported injuries. Those who have been displaced can stay at the Centennial Senior Center on East Third Street in Cle Elum or Munson Residence Hall on the Central Washington University campus in Ellensburg. Those with animals are encouraged to bring them to the Kittitas County Fairgrounds.