Fire Crews Contain Kittitas Wildfire
Kittitas County residents are returning to their homes with peace of mind after fire crews contain a 700 acre wild fire that started around midnight and threatened their homes.
Ben Smith described waking up last night to see flames lighting up the hills above his neighborhood on Park Creek Road in Kittias.
"I saw it on that hillside right there and it was big and bright, and a lot of it. It was an unsafe feeling," said Smith.
Smith's major concern? --his farm full of buffaloes and horses.
Smith says he had no idea how he would evacuate his animals if the fire came too close to his farm.
"With 12 head of horses and buffalo also. Buffalo are not the easiest to handle and load in a hurry," said Smith.
More than 50 firefighters responded to the fire just 15 miles east of Ellensburg around midnight.
High winds caused it to grow to its current size of 700 acres, threatening nearly twenty homes, and forcing some to evacuate.
Crews immediately went to work digging fire lines to protect those homes, while two helicopters worked on suppressing the fire by dropping water from above.
Crews were able to fully contain the fire shortly after noon today.
But with the wind still blowing strong, they'll have to pay attention to spots within the fire line that might flare up.
Department of Natural Resources officers are confident the wind will not cause any more problems.
"As far as the winds go, they are coming out of a favorable direction. It should help us with the suppression efforts. It should back the fire into where it's already burned when they do switch," said Debbie Robinson.
And with the fire contained, Smith can return to his farm, knowing his animals are safe for now.
"I'm very relieved, relieved big time thanks to these firefighters. They've done a hell of a job," said Smith.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
No structures were lost.