More than 500 homes threatened by Jolly Mountain Fire near Cle Elum

CLE ELUM, Wash. – The wildfire burning out of control north of Cle Elum grew to nearly 23,000 acres, spurring a new round of evacuation notices for people living and vacationing in the Central Cascades.

Gov. Inslee attended a briefing Tuesday at incident command.

"This is a very serious fire. We have serious risk to the people of the Ronald and Roslyn area," Inslee said.

He said the National Guard had been activated and around 40 service members were at the Jolly Mountain Fire.

It was one of dozens of wildfires burning in western U.S. states that sent smoke into cities from Seattle to Denver — prompting health warnings and cancellations of outdoor activities for children by many school districts.

The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, a federal agency that coordinates wildfire-fighting, said 80 large fires were burning on 2,200 square miles (5,700 square kilometers) in nine Western states.

On Tuesday, FEMA announced the agency would be providing federal funding to help with  firefighting costs at Jolly Mountain.

At the time of the request, authorities said the fire was threatening 528 homes, all of which were primary residences.

Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste had already authorized the mobilization of state firefighting resources to help battle the wildfire.

The communities of Roslyn and Cle Elum had also declared states of emergency due to the wildfire's growth.  The entire cities of Ronald and Roslyn were under level 2 evacuation notices.

On Saturday morning, the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office began notifying residences north of Double O Ranch Road to the Boulder Creek area to leave immediately due to wildfire danger.

Jeff Dennis and his neighbors were evacuated early Saturday morning. He grabbed what he could fit onto his trailer.

“We loaded up everything my buddies came together for me,” said Dennis.

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“I came ahead to check things out and it became apparent it’s become pretty serious up here,” said Phil Crocker.

Crocker arrived from Bellevue for the long weekend but his cabin is in the evacuation. He changed his plans to keep his family safe.

“I’ve advised my family not to come for the weekend and we’re going to go do something else where it’s safer,” Crocker said.

Sheriff’s deputies also issued warnings to everyone at the Suncadia Resort and those living south of State Route 903 to begin preparations to leave if the wildfire continues burning towards the area.

The Jolly Mountain Fire was sparked by a lightning strike in early August and weeks later is still completely uncontained by firefighters.

Fire crews plan to attack the fire using defensive backburn operations and identify other containment options.

Air resources are also steadily dropping water on the fire in an attempt to slow its growth.

Fire officials said high air pressure will likely return to the area which could set the stage for a prolonged dry and warm trend.

Timber, short grass, brush and a large amount of downed, dead trees are serving as fuel for the wildfire. Expected containment for the Jolly Mountain Fire is predicted to happen in mid-October.

All but six Washington counties were listed at extreme fire danger on Tuesday.