Residents are being warned to get ready to evacuate the Vantage area in Kittitas County due to a wildfire estimated around 5,000 acres that broke out Monday afternoon.
The Vantage Highway fire, which caused the Level 2 evacuation order, started around 1 p.m. and is burning on both sides of Vantage Highway near Interstate 90. Around 40 homes, windmill towers and pieces of public infrastructure are threatened, according to a news release from the state Fire Marshal’s Office.
State fire assistance has been mobilized, meaning the Fire Protection Bureau will assist local agencies in combating the wildfire. The Washington state Fire Services Resource Mobilization Plan is implemented when fires or other natural disasters exceed the capacity of local jurisdictions, and allocates personnel, equipment and other resources to the area. Kittitas County Fire District 4 initially responded to the blaze, according to the release.
The westbound lanes of I-90 in the area were briefly closed Monday afternoon as the fire crept toward the freeway.
A Level 2 order means residents in the area should be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice. If the notice is upgraded to Level 3, that means residents in the area are in immediate danger and should leave right away.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but dry, hot and windy conditions likely led to its rapid spread.