Two wildfires are burning in Ellensburg, Washington area

Cow Canyon and Vantage Highway Fires. Evacuations are in effect for the Cow Canyon Fire.

Cow Canyon & Vantage Hwy Fires 402 a.m. Aug. 4, 2022 Ellensburg Washington
Cow Canyon & Vantage Highway Fires. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 4:02 a.m. PDT Aug. 4, 2022.

Two wildfires are burning in central Washington.

Cow Canyon Fire
The Cow Canyon Fire eight miles southwest of Ellensburg spread rapidly after it was reported Wednesday August 3 at 2:45 p.m. It is spreading through brush, grass, and timber and has grown to approximately 1,500 acres.

Water-scooping air tankers are using Wenas Lake to refill. Recreational boaters are being warned to be aware of aircraft operations and to keep a safe distance. At least three large air tankers were also used on the fire Wednesday, reloading at the airport at Moses Lake, Washington, including a 737, BAe-146, and a DC-10.

Cow Canyon Fire, August 3, 2022
Cow Canyon Fire, August 3, 2022. Washington DNR photo.

Evacuations orders are affecting about 50 homes for a 1.5 mile radius from the intersection of Malloy Road and North Wenas Road. Yakima County Emergency Management has more information. An emergency shelter has been established at the Selah Civic Center. Anyone displaced by the fire can call the American Red Cross at 509-457-1690.

Vantage Highway Fire
The Vantage Highway Fire 17 miles east of Ellensburg has burned 26,490 acres of brush north of the Vantage Highway since it started August 1. Most of the spread on Wednesday was on the northwest side.

The Northwest Interagency Coordination Center reports that one residence and one outbuilding have been destroyed.

The Vantage Highway will remain closed until at least 3:00 p.m. Thursday, at which point the Southeast Washington Type 3 Incident Management Team, Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office, and Kittitas County PUD will assess if it is ready to open. The highway is closed from Parke Creek Road through Recreation Drive except for local traffic. There are no evacuation orders in effect for the Vantage Highway Fire.

The weather forecast for the Cow Canyon Fire on Thursday predicts mostly sunny skies, 79 degrees, 30 percent relative humidity, and 15 to 20 mph afternoon winds gusting to 35 mph.