Saddle Mountain Fire Destroys Homes and Ruins Lives in Vantage - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Saddle Mountain Fire Destroys Homes and Ruins Lives in Vantage

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VANTAGE, WA -- Wildfires continue to burn across Washington, scorching thousands of acres and leaving hundreds without homes. So far this summer, our area has been lucky and hasn't seen much serious damage, until this weekend. 

After seeing the destruction is Pateros, Washington, the destruction here outside of Vantage looks just the same, albeit on a smaller scale. But the feeling for people who have lost homes like this is exactly the same. They all wonder, why is this home burned to the ground when the two homes on either side a left standing. 

A little boy can make games out of just about anything. Even burying a stick in the ground. He doesn't even seem to understand the devastation around him, but his mother sure does. 

"I just thought," Suzana Martinez said. "My home, this is my home. What's left of my home."

Over the weekend, the Saddle Mountain Fire burned fast and unforgiving, charring an estimated 25,000 acres, much of it Yakima Training Center land. 

The impact of the fire changed dramatically when it reached this small fruit picking community on Hutzinger Road outside Vantage. Several of the few dozen homes on this road now look like Suzana's, with only rubble left. Like a true mother, Suzana said her only worry was how this would affect her children. 

"What have you told your children about this?" we asked. 

"We told them there was a fire and we didn't want them to be scared or worried," she said. 

Suzana and her family moved to this neighborhood just three months ago. Now the only thing left is the swing set and trampoline. Which still makes Suzana's three kids smile. 

"That's what I told them, I said you guys still have your swings and your trampoline," Suzana said. "It's something. Something for them."

We've seen the devastation around Washington this summer but in our area we've been relatively lucky. Now a wildfire has destroyed lives close to home. And whether you're in Pateros or Vantage, the pain is still the same. 

Firefighters are well on their way to getting complete control of this fire but it doesn't leave any consolation for the people who have already lost everything. 



KITTITAS COUNTY, WA -  Fire crews on the Saddle Mountain Fire are working hard to put it out.

That fire is burning South of Vantage and on the Yakima Training Center according to a fire official. 

The latest estimate is that the fire has burned 25,000 acres according to a fire official Sunday. 

Officials say it is 20 percent contained.

A total of five structures have been lost.

Huntzinger Rd. has been closed all weekend and crews expect to open it to traffic soon.