Colockum Tarps fire could affect Gorge music festival

Colockum Tarps fire could affect Gorge music festival

Credit: Washington state Department of Natural Resources

Colockum Tarps fire could affect Gorge music festival

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by KING 5 News and Associated Press

KREM.com

Posted on August 2, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Updated Saturday, Aug 3 at 7:00 AM

WENATCHEE, Wash.  -- Fire crews are scrambling to respond to reports of new wildfires sparked by lightning after thunderstorms swept through central Washington, while the state's biggest fire could have an effect on a music festival that could bring tens of thousands of people.

Jim Duck is the operations coordinator for the region's Interagency Dispatch Center. He says there are reports of new wildfires in Okanogan, Douglas and Kittitas counties.

Duck says fire crews are en route.

Related: Statewide wildfire information

Eastern Washington has been under a red-flag warning for extreme threat of wildfires, with dry fuels and thunderstorms forecast with lightning and erratic winds.

Duck says some areas -- but not all -- have reported rain from the storms, which will aid the firefighting efforts.

Meanwhile, the Colockum Tarps Fire between Wenatchee and Ellensburg is 30 percent contained. More than 830 firefighters are battling the blaze, which has burned across 125 square miles. It is 30 percent contained.

Fire officials say numerous structures and utility infrastructures remain threatened. Communities in Kittitas County are especially anxious after dealing with the Taylor Bridge Fire last year.

Businesses are also concerned that the fire may affect this weekend's Watershed Festival scheduled at The Gorge. While the flames likely won't get there, smoke could be an issue. Some 80,000 people are expected to attend.

The Mile Marker 28 Fire near Goldendale, which has burned over 27,000 acres, is now 75 percent contained.

The Department of Natural Resources has issued a statewide burn ban on all lands under DNR protection, effective through September 30. The ban applies to all forestlands in Washington state, except federal lands, and prohibits campfires in all state, local and private campgrounds.

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