YAKIMA, Wash. — Two major wildfires burning in the region connecting Yakima and Kittitas counties, filled with lush natural land ripe for combustion, are settling down as the hardworking firefighters across central and eastern Washington finalize containment at both sides.

The Vantage Highway Fire, which was first reported around Noon on August 1, 2022, has finally reached complete containment as of Thursday, August 11. The final estimated fire size was declared as 30,659 acres as flames spread to the west of Ellensburg off the side of a vital roadway.

Originally burning five miles west of Vantage, WA, the wildfire spread in part due to conditions through a “Red Flag Warning” issued for warm temperatures, high winds, and low humidity. A total of 154 personnel responded to this fire with a range of hand crews, machines, aerial resources and management teams cycling through to help bring this blaze under control.

Though some patrols remain in the area to monitor for any issues with containment lines, this puts an end to the Vantage Highway Fire.

PREVIOUS REPORTING: Vantage Highway wildfire threatens natural land west of Ellensburg

As for the Cow Canyon Fire, there is still some more work to be done. Thanks to ongoing efforts from 90 personnel, 90% of the fire has been contained across 5,832 acres in the Wenas area northwest of Naches and southwest of Ellensburg.

At this stage, the blaze is largely under control, but firefighters remain on-site to continue mopping up and patrolling the area for hotspots or any potential danger. Fire impression mitigation is ongoing with the goal of preventing these wildfires from leaving any lasting impact on natural or cultural resources.

Two homes, one cabin, and 11 outbuildings were destroyed by the blaze on August 3. However, all evacuation notices have been reduced to Level 1 as a precaution in case of the unlikely event that the fire restarts. Yakima Valley Emergency Management confirms that all evacuation notices for Selah have been removed.

PREVIOUS REPORTING: Cow Canyon Fire forces evacuations for communities west of Naches, Ellensburg

According to the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office, all road, land, and trail closures caused by these fires have been lifted. They named the following regions, which are open to the public without any further diversions: “Manastash Ridge Trail, Umptanum Falls, the Wenas Wildlife Area, and the Quilomene and Whiskey Dick wildlife area units within the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area.”

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