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Construction firm blamed for the raging Kittitas County blaze


A fire which broke out at around 1:15pm on Monday, East of Cle Elum, Kittitas County, Washington, is believed to have been caused by a bridge construction crew working there at the time.

The fire was started at a Washington State Department of Transportation construction site, on Taylor Road Bridge at Highway 10, and quickly spread over Highway 97. The wildfire has burned 60 homes and nearly 26,000 acres and continues to spread across the area. More than 450 people were evacuated overnight, as with hot temperatures and high winds forecast for the next few days, it is proving impossible to extinguish, with 600 fire fighters working on the blaze.

The alarming nature of the situation was made clear by the fire department on the scene, “We have zero per cent containment… this fire could go in any direction,” said Rex Reed, a fire spokesman.

WSDOT’S Megan McFadden reported that a number of construction activities were taking place at the time the fire started and the exact cause or source of the fire was unknown. The department's Brian White said that on Tuesday, a state inspector was on the other side of the work project when the fire started and called 911 when he realised that a fire had broken out.

DNR spokesman Rex Reed said on Tuesday night that fire investigators "know where it started from, it was definitely the construction site" and that investigators anticipate having additional information "in the next few days."

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