Update: 5:30 p.m.

ELLENSBURG, Wash. – The Colockum Tarps Fire continued to grow today, and by late afternoon had reached 66,670 acres.

“The fire’s been changing a lot,” fire information officer Mary Ellen Fitzgerald. “Fire danger is severe. There is fire in the area that was evacuated this morning.”

Heavy smoke throughout the day prevented air support in some areas of the fire, but that was beginning to change by late afternoon, said John Sinclair, Emergency Manager for Kittitas County.

“They’re beginning to get heavy work done with air assets,” he said.

Sinclair also said there were likely to be more personnel and resources joining the fight, including additional strike teams tonight, but he did not know specifics.

“They’re still in the ramping-up phase to have the assets match the footprint of the fire,” he said. “We’re still behind the power curve.”

Update: 1:22 p.m.

ELLENSBURG, Wash. – The evacuation area has been ordered expanded this afternoon as the Colockum Tarps Fire continues to grow.

Areas northeast of Ellensburg that had previously been under Level 1 and 2 have been upgraded to level 3.

The following areas are now at a Level 3 notice and residents are advised to evacuate immediately: the area north of the intersection of Christensen Road and Parke Creek Road, northwest to the intersection of Cooke Canyon Road and Gage Road, and Cooke Canyon Road north of Gage Road

The Wild Horse Wind Farm is now closed to the public.

Also due to the fire spreading south, the Vantage boat launch and parking area are closed.

The EOC has issued a Level 2 Evacuation notice for residences on the north side of Vantage Highway east of the Operating Engineers’ Training Facility to the wind farm boundary.

Update 11:40 a.m.

ELLENSBURG — Evacuation notices issued earlier this morning cover about 75 structures near the Colockum Tarps Fire in Kittitas County. Meanwhile emergency shelters for people and animals have been opened.

The upper Parke Creek and Secret Canyons areas are under Level 3 evacuation, meaning residents are told to leave due to increasing danger. The Red Cross has opened an emergency shelter at the Mercer Creek Church, 1407 North B Street. in Ellensburg, and an animal shelter at the Kittitas Valley Event Center, with check-in at the Western Town Ticket Center at Alder Street and Eighth Avenue. If possible, those evacuating animals are asked to call 509-933-8399 first to advise as to the type and quantity of animals they are bringing.

Additionally, the area north of the intersection of Christensen and Parke Creek roads northwest to the intersection of Cooke Canyon and Gage roads and Cooke Canyon Road north of Gage Road is under Level 1 evacuation.

ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Officials in Kittitas County say they are evacuating several areas near the Colockum Tarps Fire.

Level 3 evacuations — in which residents are told to leave due to increasing danger — are in place for Upper Park Creek, Secret Canyon, Hill Top, and upper sections of Little Caribou, Sheep Creek and Trail Creek.

A notice released this morning by the sheriff’s office says deputies are contacting residents in those areas and helping them leave.

Anyone needing emergency shelter may come to the sheriff’s office, 307 W. Umptanum Road, or call 509-925-8534. The sheriff’s office asks evacuees who are staying with family or friends to leave their contact information with the county’s emergency operations center, 509-933-8305.