CLE ELUM, Wash. (AP) — Calmer winds have firefighters hoping they can make progress Wednesday containing a wildfire that has burned 70 homes and more than 40 square miles in central Washington.
Incident commander Rex Reed says things went well overnight after winds died down. He says the 800 firefighters will focus Wednesday on preventing the fire from threatening a housing development near Cle Elum and a stand of timber.
The fire that broke out Monday at a bridge construction site is about 10 percent contained. At least 400 homes with an estimated 900 people have been evacuated.
An Ellensburg veterinarian says the wildfire has proved deadly to livestock.
Dr. Mark Kinsel says hundreds — "maybe in the thousands" of animals have died, mostly cattle. He said Tuesday afternoon that the full toll won't be known for days.
Kinsel is a livestock emergency response committee member helping coordinate a flood of volunteers helping out at the Ellensburg Rodeo grounds — an emergency shelter for livestock whose homes were endangered by the TaylorBridge fire.
More than 100 animals from turkeys to horses had been logged in by Tuesday afternoon. Many were picked up running loose so a Facebook page was being set up to help match livestock to their owners.
Veterinarians are on call to treat animals arriving with burns, fence cuts or other injuries.