Traffic along Interstate 90 in Washington found itself seriously backed up as a wildfire raged between the towns of Vantage and George on Monday.
The fire began Sunday afternoon and has since grown to over 900 acres, with thick brush and high winds facilitating quick growth. Officials in Washington State issued a Level 3 evacuation notice for part of Monday, evacuating some 50 homes, but by 6:30 pm residents were allowed to return. So far no injuries are reported, though a trailer loaded with hay sitting on a frontage road is reported to have been burned over.
As of 8:00 pm on Monday, the interstate remains closed from the Vantage bridge over the Columbia River all the way to the town of George, a total of 16 miles, with high levels of smoke and potential spotting due to the wind being the greatest concern for firefighters. Washington State Patrol and Department of Transportation have not given an estimate on when the interstate will reopen, and until it does drivers are being detoured around the closed area via Adams Road.
So far, 200 firefighters are assigned to the blaze along with air support and a Type 3 IMT. The fire is uncontained, and will likely remain so until weather conditions change. Up-to-date information can be found via Washington Department of Transportation.