You may have heard that the Jolly Mountain Fire is not far from Cle Elum. Before I explain any further, know that the sanctuary is outside of the danger area.
So, if you are worried about the chimps, don’t be, but if you’d like to help them today anyway, please do check out the online auction that ends tonight at 8:00 p.m. PT – there’s some really great items, and you can donate directly towards our driveway funds via that auction.
There’s more on the fire below, but here are a few photos of Jody from today to show you how relaxed she is. This morning she found a plant-treasure on the hill and brought it in for some leisurely snacking:
So, that fire…
There are three “evacuation” levels – I (Ready), II (Set), and III (Go). Level I is a notice to be aware that there is a fire in your area, and the sanctuary is about a mile from even the Level I area.
All three levels expanded overnight, and several friends, donors, and volunteers of the sanctuary are in the Level II and III areas now. You can see a map here if you’re super curious. Level II does not necessarily lead to Level III and Level III does not necessarily mean the fire is in the immediate area. Still, it’s scary, and a lot of people are affected by this fire already, waiting to see what happens.
The good news is that the state of Washington has sent in reinforcements and here is the long list of agencies that were added this morning to protect the populated areas in the potential path of the fire: Kittitas County Fire District #7 (this is our local fire district who we love so much!), Kittitas County Fire Protection District #6, U.S. Forest Service crews, Washington State Department of Natural Resources crews, and engines from Spokane, Spokane Valley, Stevens County, Entiat, Grand Co., Snohomish, Everett, Shoreline, Duvall, Orcas Island, Gray’s Harbor, Vashon Island, Seattle, S. King County, King County, North High Line, Skykomish, Valley Regional, High Prairie, Benton, W. Benton, Mason Co., Kennewick, College Place, Walla Walla, Fife, Franklin, Mason Co., and more. There are planes and helicopters dropping water, and obviously they are mobilizing to fight the fire on the ground now that it coming out of the deep forest, which is inaccessible due to the potential danger.
There is an incident management team overseeing the big picture management of the fire, and, as you can see from that list, there are many agencies and individuals working together. They’ve been great at keeping the community up to date via social media and in person meetings, and the Kittitas County Sheriff’s office is working very closely with the team to notify people of evacuations and answer questions.
As this video from last week described, we have a fire defense plan at the sanctuary. It would be very, very difficult to evacuate the chimpanzees, so we have a plan to shelter them in place, which we have successfully implemented twice now. We are hopeful that we will not have to do that again with the Jolly Mountain Fire.
We are thinking about the entire community that is facing the threat of fire and other natural disasters, and we know that community includes supporters in other states as well. We are extremely thankful for all who are working to keep others safe.