WEST RICHLAND The skies above West Richland glowed orange Sunday night as firefighters worked to extinguish a 50-acre wildfire on Flat Top Hill.
Crews from Benton County Fire Protection Districts 1, 2 and 4; Richland; Kennewick and Walla Walla District 5 spent hours battling the blaze that started at 7:37 p.m. near the 5900 block of Van Giesen Street.
The fire was under control by 9:30 p.m., but continued to burn.
"This thing could still turn around and kick us in the butt," said Capt. Bill Cherwein of Benton District 4.
While Cherwein couldn't say whether the fire was caused by holiday fireworks, he was disappointed that some enthusiastic Independence Day celebrants continued to light fireworks nearby. Some types of fireworks are legal in West Richland.
"This is really troublesome," Cherwein said. "People have the right to enjoy the holiday ... but there are businesses imminently in danger."
The fire burned nearly to the doors of the U.S. Post Office on Van Giesen and the Benton County Mosquito Control District building.
Some houses had to be protected, but no structures were damaged and no residents were asked to evacuate their homes, Cherwein said.
Van Giesen was closed between 62nd Avenue and Bombing Range Road while firefighters tackled the blaze.
Elsewhere, firefighters were battling about a 40-acre wildfire at Highway 225 and Ruppert Road in Benton City at 9:30 p.m.
Earlier in the evening, Pasco crews extinguished a fire in an outbuilding at property on Willow Way near Road 103, and Richland crews fought a small fire on Cottonwood Drive.
In the afternoon, wildfires burned about 20 acres in Burbank near the McNary Wildlife Refuge, and an unknown number of acres near Kahlotus.
No information was available about the causes of the fires on Sunday night.
* Staff photographer Kai-Huei Yau contributed to this report.