Wildfire evacuation orders for the town of Vantage, Washington were lifted Wednesday night. The Ryegrass Coulee Fire burned over 1,600 acres and firefighters are expected to fully contain the fire by Thursday.
The fire closed roughly 22 miles of I-90 for several hours Tuesday morning, causing significant backups.
Kittitas Valley Fire and Rescue Chief Jon Sinclair said during a press conference Tuesday morning around 200 people from the town of Vantage had been evacuated. Residents were allowed to return home Tuesday afternoon.
The wildfire started around 11 p.m. Monday night near milepost 133. Firefighters on scene told KING 5 they battled 50 – 60 mph wind gusts Monday night into Tuesday morning. By 8 a.m. Monday, the fire grew from 300 acres to over 1,000 acres and burned over a four-mile stretch north and south of I-90 along with more than 400 guardrail posts.
The Grant County Sheriff tweeted that embers were blowing across the Columbia River into Grant County. Firefighters monitored and protected the area where the embers were landing.
Chief Sinclair said Monday the fire was burning on both sides of I-90 and made it to Huntzinger Road on the south side of I-90, which closed the roadway. The Southeast Washington Interagency Incident Management Team said Huntzinger Road opened Wednesday afternoon.
Wanapum Recreation Area & State Park was placed in a Level 2 advisory Tuesday and people camping would need to take shelter. Officials said the state park opened to the public again Wednesday at noon.
Patrick Rogers said he and his family were camping in the Wanapum Recreation area when they were woken up Tuesday morning and told they needed to pack up and evacuate. The family just moved back to Washington from Hawaii and were on the last night of a two-week camping trip.
The Red Cross closed an emergency shelter Wednesday that was set up in George for anyone displaced by the fire.
One building was lost due to the wildfire.
Several fire districts fought the wildfire including the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
No injuries are reported at this time. The cause of the fire is currently unknown.
The DNR responded to 470 wildfires across the state before the Fourth of July.