Boylston Fire in Washington grows to 70,000 acres overnight

On Friday the eastbound lanes of Interstate 90 were closed

Above: Photo of the Boylston Fire taken by the Washington DNR Ahtanum crew when they were evacuating the Wanapum recreational area Thursday night.

(Originally published at 10:08 a.m. PDT July 20, 2018)

A very rapidly spreading wildfire in Washington forced the closure Friday of the eastbound lanes of Interstate 90 east of Kittitas in the area of milepost 122. The Boylston Fire was reported late in the afternoon Thursday July 19 and by 10 a.m. Friday fire officials estimated it had grown to 70,000 acres.

The fire is burning mostly south of Interstate 90 between Ellensburg and Mattawa. It apparently started near the Interstate and spread southeast about 13 miles to the Columbia River.

map Boylston Fire Washington
The red dots represent heat on the Boylston, L RD SW, and Buckshot Fires detected by a satellite at 4 a.m. PDT July 20, 2018. It is likely that in some areas with light fuels, such as grass, the fire could have burned and cooled in between satellite overflights, and therefore was not detected in those areas. Click to enlarge.

Some areas on the Boylston Fire are difficult for ground crews to access.

A Type 2 Incident Management Team is en route.

The Red Flag Warning for the area on Friday will not give firefighters a break. The forecast calls for relative humidity of 12 to 25 percent and winds out of the west at 10 to 20 mph gusting to 25.

Red Flag Warning, July 20, 2018
Red Flag Warning, July 20, 2018.

There are two other smaller fires in the same general area, southeast of the Boylston Fire. The Buckshot Fire is on the east side of the Columbia River southwest of Mattawa. A fire with an unfortunate name, the “L RD SW Fire” is farther east near the intersection of Highways 24 and 243, and is also near the river.

These three fires are 27 to 36 miles northeast of Yakima, Washington.

Regarding the Tweet below, at 10 a.m. PDT Friday, fire officials estimated the Boylston Fire had burned 70,000 acres.