Wildfire smoke drifts into Valley

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— Walla Walla Valley residents awoke to smoky, hazy skies this morning, the result of a wildfire burning near Cle Elum.

The Taylor Bridge Fire, 6 miles east of Cle Elum on State Route 10, had destroyed 60 homes and burned about 31 square miles this morning. According to The Seattle Times, the fire started Monday about 1:15 p.m. and quickly spread about 30 mph, jumping over Highway 97.

The National Weather Service said today that smoke from the fire is drifting over portions of the Columbia Basin and into the Yakima Valley due to a northwest low level flow. The smoke arrived over Walla Walla early this morning and is expected to drift as far as Pendleton later today.

Department of Natural Resources spokesman Mark Grassel told The Times that a fire investigator might release a cause for the fire later today. As of 1 a.m. nearly 300 people had been evacuated from their homes. Another group was being evacuated by the Sheriff’s Office this morning, Grassel added.

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