Table Mountain Complex triples in size

Central Washington Fire,
Central Washington Fire,
One of the fires in central Washington. Photo by Kittitas Fire District

The Table Mountain Complex of fires tripled in size Wednesday and Wednesday night, growing from 9,500 acres to 30,434 acres, according to Bob Redling, an Information Officer for the fire which is burning in central Washington 11 miles east of Cle Elum. Usually firefighters can expect the relative humidity (RH) to increase substantially at night, slowing the spread of a fire significantly. However, the RH recorded at the Dry Creek weather station 26 miles north of the fire measured a low of 9 percent Wednesday afternoon that only went up to a high of 29 percent early Thursday morning. Even though the winds were moderate and in the single digits, the fire still added over 20,000 acres.

There are unconfirmed reports that on Wednesday the convection column of smoke went up to over 40,000 feet and carried 8-inch pieces of burning bark 6 to 7 miles away, falling near the Mission Ridge Ski Area.

Around 161 residences have been evacuated and at least one cabin has been destroyed by the fire.

Fire and windmills
KOMO photo

There are four large fires in the complex and firefighters are now managing them as one, since they expect them all to burn together soon. As you can see in the map below, the Table Mountain Complex of fires is very close to the Yakima Complex to the south and the Wenatchee Complex to the north.

Map of Table Mountain, Yakima, and Wenatchee fires
Map of Table Mountain, Yakima, and Wenatchee fires, 10:33 a.m. MT September 20, 2012. The red and yellow areas are the most recently burned. (click to enlarge)

Most of these fires started from a major lightning storm on September 8 when over 3,000 strikes were recorded. There are approximately 95 fires in the Yakima Complex, according to information on Inciweb. 

The video below has more information about the fires in the area.


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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.