The town of Vantage is under an evacuation order, I-90 and the Vantage Highway are closed to traffic, and local firefighters have requested assistance from state fire crews as they battle a brush fire which scorched 1,000 acres of Eastern Kittitas County overnight.
The Ryegrass Coulee fire was first reported around 11 p.m. Monday about three miles west of the town of Vantage. Firefighters say high easterly winds pushed the fire toward the town overnight, which is when authorities issued a level three evacuation notice for the town.
The Red Cross has opened a shelter across the Columbia River in Grant County at the George Community Hall. The Red Cross reports that so far at least 40 homes in Vantage have been evacuated.
I-90 is closed in both directions because of the fire. Eastbound traffic is being stopped six miles east of Ellensburg; westbound traffic is being stopped at the Vantage bridge. The state patrol is asking drivers to avoid the area, and the state Department of Transportation says there is no estimate on when the highway will be reopened.