Fire crews have contained 30 percent of a fire burning north of Interstate 90 in Kittitas County, stopping the blaze from threatening structures in the town of Vantage.
The Mile Post 22 fire began Wednesday at around 5 p.m., 2 miles north of Vantage, and had grown to about 5,000 acres Thursday morning, said Jim Duck, operations coordinator at the Central Washington Interagency Communications Center of the Department of Natural Resources. Level 2 evacuations – meaning be ready to leave at a moment’s notice – were ordered in Vantage, though Duck said the town is likely out of danger.
About 150 firefighters from multiple fire agencies were able to contain the southern and western breaches of the fire, Duck said, but the fire is continuing to spread northward away from the town and Interstate 90.
Public Information Officer Randy Shepard said that no structure damage or injuries have been reported so far and containment through most of the afternoon and early evening had stayed at 30 percent.
State fire resources were also tapped Thursday morning, which brought in multiple engines and fire teams to help build fire lines. Shepard said throughout the day, and around 200 fire fighters from agencies in Oregon and Washington arrived on site to help.
Duck said firefighters would focus Thursday on containing the north end of the fire, with helicopters and Fire Boss airplanes scooping and dumping water from the nearby Columbia River.
Firefighters were skeptical weather played a factor in the fire’s quick growth, noting that the tough-to-navigate terrain and fuel source of grass and brush were the most probable culprits.
The National Weather Service in Wenatchee reported slight wind gusts of 3 miles per hour Thursday morning. Temperatures were around 70 degrees with a humidity of 56 percent.
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