Volunteers Rescue Horses and Other Livestock from Central Washington Wildfire
The Lede; by Jennifer Preston
The Kittitas County Fairgrounds in central Washington State was being prepared for the arrival of hundreds of horses for the annual 4-H Horse Show this weekend when it suddenly became a crisis center for livestock caught in a wildfire that has consumed more than 28,000 acres since Monday.
Hundreds of goats, horses, cows, sheep and other livestock have been brought to the fairgrounds. At least 70 homes have been destroyed in the area and more than 500 people have been evacuated from what is being called the Taylor Bridge Fire. The fire is burning near the city of Cle Elum in Kittitas County, about 80 miles southeast of Seattle, and is one of more than 50 wildfires now burning across the Western United States.
The Washington Department of Natural Resources posted a photo on Twitter showing an aerial view of the fire, which was only 10 percent contained on Wednesday.
There have been no reported injuries but authorities are concerned that livestock and wild animals may have died in the fire, despite efforts by volunteers who brought horse trailers and trucks on rural roads to rescue stray animals. The rescued animals were brought to the fairground, where more volunteers had arrived to help care for them. Smaller animals were brought to nearby veterinarians.
Update from the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Department website
Kittitas County, WA – 08/16/2012 – Evacuation and Donation Information
Reports from the Sunlight Water’s Water District, the water systems are currently down and there is no fresh water available. Crews are currently working on the system and will keep the public updated.
Along the east portion of the fire: Cricklewood Lane (off of SR97), Ellensburg Ranches Road (off of SR97), Hayward Road (off of SR10 and Ellensburg Ranches Road). SR10 is accessible to residents from Hayward Road east to the SR97 junction.
Monetary Donations can be sent to our local American Red Cross:
American Red Cross
312 North Pearl St.
Ellensburg, WA 98926