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A series of wildfires wreaked havoc on travelers crossing Interstate 90 Friday afternoon.

The first wildfire resulted in the closure of both directions of the I-90 at approximately 1:30 p.m., with the eastbound direction being closed at milepost 77 and westbound lanes closed at milepost 84. Lanes were closed periodically during the firefighting effort, but were open as of time of publication.

Adding to the work being put into the first fire, a second fire is being battled near I-90 milepost 97. Kittitas Valley Fire and Rescue Chief John Sinclair said the forward progress of the first fire has been stopped and said a structure protection group is in place to guard the houses to the south of the fire.

“It started on the freeway from what appears to be a boat that was being pulled behind a rig,” he said. “It probably had a bad bearing or something along those lines.”

Sinclair said the fire is located between the interstate and the Palouse to Cascades State Park trail and is estimated to be at approximately 25 acres. He said the fire triggered four alarms, with resources from the state Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service being committed to the blaze.

“We are at a point where we are beginning to overhaul that fire,” he said. “We’re going to be here for multiple days to get that taken care of.”

At milepost 93, Sinclair said two alarms have been triggered, with DNR crews on the scene as well as KVFR engines that were on scene for the other fire. He said two helicopters were also diverted from the first fire to the second. Sinclair said to his knowledge, no structures have been damaged and no injuries have been reported. He said there was damage to some railroad ties on the BNSF line, and said they requested a fire train to the scene.

Sinclair said more information on the milepost 93 fire will be released as it becomes available. In the meantime, he advised travelers to refrain from using the interstate if possible and monitor the Washington State Patrol and WSDOT social media accounts for updates.

“We’d love it if people stay out of the area and give us about four hours to get this buttoned up,” he said.

Reporting for the DR since March 2018. Lover of campfires, black labs and good vibes. Proud Humboldt State alum!

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