VANTAGE, Wash. — Poor visibility from brushfires east of Seattle caused a 24-vehicle pileup Thursday.
The Washington state patrol said 15 cars and nine tractor-trailers were involved in a crash on Interstate 90 Thursday morning, leaving 11 people injured. Wind gusts kicked up dust left by a brush fire that burned in the area Tuesday, said Department of Transportation spokeswoman Meagan Lott.
Authorities were keeping eastbound lanes of Interstate 90 near near Kittitas closed until Friday. The pileup snarled traffic on the main route across Washington state.
Trooper Darren Wright says the crash happened just before 11 a.m. near Vantage, a small town along the Columbia River. He said there were serious injuries among the 11 people hurt.
Washington and Oregon are fighting more than a dozen large wildfires as lightning and human error spark drought-stricken forest and grassland.
Near the eastern Cascade Mountains town of Leavenworth, Washington, ash rained down on residents, who were told to evacuate nearly 900 homes.
Further north, authorities evacuated a hospital and the town of Pateros as a fire approached.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
A wildfire in central Washington state has burned more than 10 square miles and forced the residents of hundreds of homes to evacuate. (July 18) AP