Blazes affecting holiday travelers

Fire crews continue to battle the Sutherland Canyon Fire northwest of Quincy.

Northwest Incident Management Team 11
Fire crews continue to battle the Sutherland Canyon Fire northwest of Quincy.

— Wildfires burning in Central Washington have caused traffic delays, road closures and evacuations in Grant, Douglas and Chelan counties as motorists hit the road for their Independence Day Celebrations.

Smoke from the Sutherland Canyon fire has been thick and prompted traffic delays between Ellensburg and Vantage on Interstate 90.

The interstate was temporarily closed at Vantage over the weekend, but fully reopened about 9:30 a.m. yesterday, officials said.

The Sutherland Canyon Fire is currently the largest burning in the state; officials yesterday estimated its size at 29,433 acres.

Ninety percent contained yesterday, the fire is burning Northwest of Quincy.

State officials were also working on two other large fires in Central Washington — the Spartan Fire burning 8,730 acres near Chelan and the Straight Hollow Fire burning 8,458 acres, just north of the Sutherland Canyon blaze.

The Straight Hollow Fire was also reported as 90 percent contained yesterday.

Local jurisdictions have managing those blazes as they are more than 75 percent contained.

Approximately 400 firefighters were on scene this weekend working the Sutherland Canyon, Straight Hollow and Spartan fires, officials said.

Yesterday, crews were securing fire lines and mopping up hotspots, trying to curtail and remaining fire activity before 100-plus temperatures set in this week.

Another fire burning near Selah, the Wenas Fire, was expected to be 100 percent contained yesterday, but may still have some areas smoldering.

Because of firefighting activities, crews are asking motorists traveling for the July 4 holiday to avoid fire areas.

“We would like to thank the public for their support during Sutherland Canyon, Spartan and Straight Hollow fires,” Northwest Team 11 Incident Commander Nathan Rabe said. “With high fire danger, we urge the public to celebrate safely by attending a local fireworks display this Fourth of July.”


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