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I-90 reopens as 80,000 acre fire burns near Kittitas

Brush fire burns along I-90 near Kittitas, Wash. (Washington State Patrol Photo)

KITTITAS, Wash. - All lanes of Interstate 90 have reopened in Kittitas County as firefighters battle a wildfire that exploded in size there overnight.

The wind-driven brush fire mushroomed in size from 3,000 acres on Thursday evening to nearly 80,000 acres by late Friday morning. As of Noon, the fire was only 15 percent contained.

The freeway was shut down overnight Thursday. The westbound lanes were reopened early Friday morning. One eastbound lane was opened around 3:00 p.m. The DOT said those heading east had to follow a pilot vehicle through the area. All lanes were reopened around 8:30 p.m. Friday.

Army officials with Joint Base Lewis-McChord said the fire is mostly burning on the grounds of the Yakima Training Center, and the flames span a range of about 45 miles. No structures have been destroyed at this time.

The fire broke out just before 3:30 p.m. Thursday in the median and right shoulder of the eastbound lanes of I-90 near milepost 122, about seven miles east of the town of Kittitas, according to Trooper Brian Moore with the Washington State Patrol. The fire later jumped the median to the westbound side of I-90.

The state Department of Natural Resources sent fire engines, three airplanes and two helicopters to fight the blaze.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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