Saddle Mountain Fire almost fully contained

Saddle Mountain Fire almost fully contained
KITTITAS COUNTY, Wash. -- The Saddle Mountain Fire is nearly fully contained in Kittitas County. The wildfire started Friday and grew by tens of thousands of acres in just hours. Action News went to the area Monday and spoke with the Chief of the Vantage Fire Department.

While some homes were lost, crews were able to save many more that were at risk. The Saddle Mountain Fire was just the latest to hit Kittitas County.

"By far, it's one of the biggest fires we've ever had for our small little community," said Chief William Rose of the Vantage Fire Department.

Four homes and one garage were lost in the flames.

"It was really wind-driven, so it really pushed it hard at us," Rose said.

Clouds of smoke could be seen miles away.

"It was just a wall of smoke. You could not see anything," said Chris Kwiatkowski, volunteer member of the Vantage Fire Department. "You couldn't see the dam; you couldn't see the mountain ranges back there."

The fire started on Friday and quickly grew into 40,000 acres. At one point, 80 homes were at risk.

"The smoke was intense, there were just some spots with no visibility and it was really thick, couldn't even see in front of you sometimes," Rose said.

Fire crews from across the state were redirected to help put out the flames. The Yakima Training Center Fire Department and Bureau of Land Management took control of the fire Saturday afternoon.

Federal money was authorized to help fight the Saddle Mountain Fire. It is considered contained as of Monday evening.

However, four other fires are actively burning throughout Washington State. Crews finally have the upper hand on a fire in Chelan Canyon, but the Carlton Complex fire continues to grow. Cooler weather and lighter winds helped bring the fast-moving Saddle Mountain fire under control more quickly.

"Definitely hope it's a once in a lifetime experience, but I learned a lot," Rose said.

The fire burned 38,000 acres south of Interstate 90 in the area of Ryegrass and the Yakima Training Center. Huntzinger Road was closed at one point, but it's back open if you live or work in the area.