As the Colockum Tarps Fire was forced southwest by the winds overnight, dozens of families living northeast of the small town of Kittitas woke up Wednesday to the word they hoped they would never hear: it's time to evacuate.
"The sheriff came to the door and said you guys are out of here," Greg Tudor told KHQ's Kelsey Watts. "We're living on pins and needles at the moment." As soon as the fire started Saturday, they were automatically on a level 1 evacuation. By Monday, they were told to pack their bags - many of which were still ready to go from last summer when the Taylor Bridge Fire came within some 10 miles of their home. "[Our neighbors] had no warning the fire was coming and they had to run," Tudor recalled. "But us, we had several days here." After they got settled into a motel in Kittitas, Tudor and his wife came back to the road leading to their home off Caribou Canyon & Colockum Roads and could only wait and watch as fire crews moved in. "From last years fire we had a lot of stuff put away, old photo albums and memorabilia, things like that. Things you can't replace," Tudor said. "We had most of our belonging packed by Monday night or Tuesday morning and we kept our fingers crossed it wouldn't come to this." The fire line was burning roughly 5-7 miles from their door by early afternoon Wednesday, but the unpredictable winds were making suppression efforts hard for the more than 300 firefighters battling the blaze. Fire Information Officer Jeff Sevigny told KHQ the Colockum Tarps Fire is the #1 priority in the state and local, state and federal resources are helping, including air resources from out of state, and two hot shot crews from Oregon on top of the crew from Entiat. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. At last report it was 66,000 acres and only 8% contained. "We just wait now," Tudor said. "We're really at the mercy of how these guys do."