Interstate 90 is now open between Milepost 138 near Vantage and 154 near George, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation, but drivers can expect rolling slowdowns through the area.
Update, 10:07 a.m. | Interstate 90 is open between Milepost 138 near Vantage and Milepost 154 near George, Grant County, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. Drivers can expect rolling slowdowns through the area.
Update at 6:30 a.m. | Interstate 90 remains closed in both directions Tuesday morning as a 700-acre brush fire burns near George, Grant County.
Kyle Foreman, an information officer for the Grant County Sheriff’s Department, said more than 200 firefighters were working to control the blaze.
“It isn’t going anywhere that’s going to impact homeowners. We have a lot of resources controlling it,” Foreman said.
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Foreman said because firefighters are working on I-90 to contain the fire and with extremely dusty conditions, the road is unsafe for motorists.
“The fire went through and burned the grasses and sage brush,” Foreman said. “The only thing left is the dust, and the winds are coming through and picking that dust up and throwing it across the highway.”
Conditions Monday were primed for a fast-moving fire.
“We had the heat, we had the wind, the fuel,” Foreman said.
Old-growth sagebrush in the area is so dry and winds so fierce that “it looks like it vaporizes into a wave … everything just takes off,” he added.
Foreman said this is the third large fire in as many weeks in Grant County.
“The firefighters around here are tired. It’s been a very long summer so far and we’re not even halfway over with the fire season,” Foreman said.
Original Post | A brush fire near George, Grant County, closed Interstate 90 in both directions Monday afternoon and the freeway remained closed Tuesday morning, according to Trooper Darren Wright of the Washington State Patrol.
It’s unknown when the freeway, which is closed from mileposts 138 to 155, will re-open.
The fire at one point threatened about 50 homes, but Wright said Monday night officials lifted an evacuation order despite the continuing blaze.
“I don’t think we have actual control, but (firefighters are) making better progress,” Wright said around 6:30 p.m.
Wright said a strong wind made things difficult. About 100 firefighters and a helicopter responded to the fire, which was more than 700 acres, according to Wright.
A wildfire flared up at the same site Sunday.
“What happened on Sunday is being repeated. I-90 is closed again from the east end of the bridge at the (State Route) 26 interchange up to George,” said Jeff Adamson, a spokesman for the Washington Department of Transportation.
Detours set up for Monday’s fire made it easier for the department to get traffic moving quickly, Adamson said.
Drivers were being detoured around the closed area on Adams Road, Adamson said. No injuries were reported and no structures caught fire, Wright said.
Seattle Times staff reporter Walker Orenstein contributed to this report.