Snag Canyon Fire near Ellensburg nearly doubles in size; state mobilization ordered

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ELLENSBURG, Wash. — The Snag Canyon Fire northwest of Ellensburg grew to an estimated 6.400 acres Wednesday, nearly doubling in size from the previous 24 hours.  A state fire mobilization was ordered, as 450 firefighters struggled to try to control the blaze.

The fire, which is burning grass, brush and timber and has already destroyed six homes and 10 other structures, is only 10 percent contained.

As part of the state fire mobilization, six strike teams of structure-protection engines — a total of 30 engines — have been requested from across the state to assist Kittitas Valley Fire and Rescue, the official Incident Information said.

“Fire crews are aggressively fighting this fire, but continue to be concerned about the weather forecast and fuel conditions,” it said. “Public and firefighter safety is a significant concern, and incident management personnel are looking at all options for suppression.”

Gusty winds pushed the fire about a mile to the east to set afire the Naneum Canyon, too, authorities said.

On Tuesday, Level 3 evacuations were ordered for Schnebly Canyon and Coleman Canyon due to the Snag Canyon Fire.  Under a Level 3 notice, residents are advised to evacuate immediately.

Anyone needing the Red Cross emergency shelter can contact the EOC at 509-933-8305.  The emergency shelter for livestock and other animals remains open at the Kittitas County Fairgrounds.

The Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office closed Cooke Canyon Road and Colockum Pass Road at Gage Road; they are open to local residents only. Schnebly Road is closed at the gate.

Officials said the fire is threatening the Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest. The Washington Department of Natural Resources has closed the western half of the Naneum Ridge State Forest

The fire was started by a lightning strike on Saturday, Aug. 2, officials said.

More information for evacuees, such as emergency shelter news and livestock help can be found here.

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