Ryegrass Coulee Fire 50% contained, hoping to reach 80% containment by Wednesday night


VANTAGE, WA - The Ryegrass Coulee Fire is now 100% contained. It burned a total of 1,612 acres.

The fire destroyed an outbuilding and damaged a barn.

UPDATE 7/11 8:00 AM:

VANTAGE, WA - Fire crews hope to have 80% containment by the end of Wednesday, July 11th. Some of them will be able to go home or to different assignments as of today, July 11th. 

Firefighters have taken care of several hotspots overnight, and will continue mopping up areas to get things under control.

UPDATE 11:30 PM:

The Kittitas County Sheriff released this post on their Facebook page:

"The evacuation Level in the town of Vantage has been reduced to a Level 1 which means be aware of the fire in the area.

The fire has now burned 1,612 acres and is currently 50% contained.

Night crews will be deployed and continue to work on containment.

Huntzinger Rd south of I-90 will remain closed."

This is an ongoing story, and we will continue to update as we get more information.



KITTITAS, WA - We continue to follow a fire near the town of Vantage that started Monday night.

We don't know the cause of the fire at this time; the Kittitas County Sheriff's Office is bringing in state investigators to determine the cause.

So far, one outbuilding has been damaged, but thankfully no homes. The evacuation notice has been downgraded from a Level 2 to a Level 1, which means you can return home. 

About 100 to 120 people have been affected by this evacuation notice.

Ben Shearer with Pasco Fire tells us they're hoping to drop all evacuations by Wednesday. As for their plan of attack for the rest of the day, their ultimate goal is to put out all of the active hot spots and keep the fire contained to the already-burned area.

Crews will be fighting the fire from the air and ground to get it under control.



VANTAGE, WA - The Ryegrass Coulee Fire is now 20 percent contained and is at Level 2 evacuations. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the Ryegrass Coulee Fire in Kittitas County, Washington.

FEMA Region 10 Administrator Mike O’Hare determined that the fire threatened such destruction as would constitute a major disaster. He approved the state of Washington’s request for a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) at 5:41 a.m. PDT on Tuesday, July 10. This is the first FMAG declaration for the 2018 Washington fire season.

The fire started on Monday and had burned in excess of 300 acres of state and private land. At the time of the request the fire was threatening approximately 140 homes in and around the community of Vantage, total population of 120. The fire was 0 percent contained.

Approximately 105 of the threatened homes are primary residences and 35 are secondary homes. The fire imposed on Interstate 90, necessitating the immediate shutdown of the major economic corridor for the state, as well as threatened irrigation, fishing streams, and spawning sites along the Columbia River including the Rocky Coulee and Schnebly Coulee streams, Yakama Nation sensitive areas adjacent to the interstate corridor, and native wildfire including elk, mule deer and purple martins in the area. The state issued Level 3 “Go” mandatory evacuations for the community of Vantage.

FMAGs are provided through the President's Disaster Relief Fund and are made available by FEMA to assist in fighting fires that threaten to cause a major disaster. Eligible items can include expenses for field camps; equipment use, repair and replacement; mobilization and demobilization activities; and tools, materials and supplies.

In addition to reimbursement funding for fighting the Ryegrass Coulee Fire, under the FMAG declaration the state of Washington will be eligible for an additional $566,667 in assistance through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 authorized FEMA to provide HMGP Post-Fire funds to eligible states and territories that receive Fire Management Assistance declarations and federally recognized tribes that have land burned within a declared area.



VANTAGE, WA - The town of Vantage has been lowered to a Level 2 evacuation notice, which will allow residents to return home.

Residents are advised to continue to monitor the situation and still be prepared to leave at a moment's notice should fire conditions change.

I-90 is now open in both directions. Vantage Highway has also been reopened in both directions. Huntzinger Road will remain closed south of I-90. 



VANTAGE, WA -The Ryegrass Coulee Fire is now burning at 1,000 acres that is 0% contained. High winds are not helping the fire supression efforts.

200 people have been impacted by the fire and one structure has been lost. The entire town of Vantage has been evacuated, a Level 3 Evacuation is still in place. Wanapum State Park also has Level 2 Evacuations. People camping there are advised to shelter in place until roads open nearby.

Crews are working to get air support to get a handle on the fire.

Traffic on I-90 is being redirected. If you're traveling eastbound traffic is closed at milepost 115 to milepost 138. 400 guardrail posts have been taken out near the fire on I-90. It is anticipated that one road will be open later today.

Alternative routes are US 97 to Blewett Pass towards Wenatchee or US-28 towards Quincy. 



VANTAGE, WA - Kittitas County has released the following information about the Ryegrass Coulee Fire, "Approximately 200 people in the Vantage Huntzinger area have been affected by a Level 3 Evacuation notice put out by the Kittitas County Sheriff's Office as a result of the fire. Firefighters performing structural protection in Vantage insured no homes were lost during the night.

Sheriff Deputies and fire fighters responded to the Ryegrass/Vantage area shortly before 11:00 PM last night after motorists reported a fire on the north side of Interstate 90 near MP 133, approximately 3 miles West of the town of Vantage. Due to high easterly winds, a Level 2 Evacuation was issued in the town. 

When it became apparent the fire would reach the town, Deputies conducted a house to house Level 3 Evacuation as firefighters move into structural protection. Additional resources were requested, to include State Mobilization. 

Due to the I-90 and Vantage Highway being closed, Kittitas County Emergency Management requested Grant County assist with Evacuees needing shelter."



VANTAGE, WA - The Kittitas County Sheriff's Office has issued a Level 3 "Go, leave now!" evacuation order for the town of Vantage.

A Level 3 evacuation advisory is in effect for residents within 1 mile south of I-90 on Huntzinger Rd. Wanapum State Park is on a Level 2 advisory. People camping will need to shelter in place as Huntzinger Rd is currently impassable.

The Red Cross is opening a shelter for anyone displaced by the Ryegrass Coulee Fire in George, WA. The shelter will be located at the George Community Hall, that is 403 W. Montmorency Blvd.

The fire has established on the south side of I-90 and has made it to Huntzinger Rd.



VANTAGE, WA - I-90 both directions milepost 115, east of Ellensburg to milepost 138, just east of the Vantage Bridge, is closed due to a brush fire. Eastbound traffic is stopped at the Kittitas Exit 115, 6 miles east of Ellensburg, and westbound traffic is stopped at Exit 138, the Junction of SR-26 on the east side of the Vantage Bridge. No detour is available via local roads. An estimated time to open the roadway is not determined." - WSDOT

Washington State DOT says Interstate 90 in both directions is closed due to the large brush fire. Traffic is stopped in the eastbound lanes at exit 115, 6 miles east of Ellensburg. Westbound traffic is stopped at exit 138, near the Junction of SR 26 on the east side of the Vantage Bridge. No detour is available and there is no estimated time it will reopen.

This is a developing story and will be updated.


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