The Benton Clean Air Agency issued an air quality alert as smoke from the Taylor Bridge Fire hung over the Mid-Columbia on Tuesday.
The agency said air quality levels had reached the "unhealthy" designation, and residents were urged to avoid or reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors.
After Gov. Chris Gregoire declared a state of emergency in Yakima and Kittitas counties Tuesday afternoon, firefighters from Benton Fire Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4 and Franklin Fire Districts 3 and 5 left for Cle Elum to help battle the more than 28,000-acre blaze, said Benton Fire Dis-trict 1 Division Chief Mike Harris.
The Kennewick Fire Department also has someone at the scene of the Taylor Bridge Fire as part of the incident management team, said Battalion Chief Tod Kreutz.
The American Red Cross mobilized volunteers from throughout the region to help with disaster relief at shelters in Cle Elum and at Central Washington University in Ellensburg.
In addition to food and shelter, Red Cross volunteers are providing families with emotional support and mental health counseling as they wait for news about their homes, a news release said.
People affected by the fire can register at www.redcross.org/safeandwell to let loved ones know where they are.
Donations for disaster relief can be made at www.redcross.org or by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.