Fire scorches 200 acres in Prosser

Tri-City HeraldAugust 6, 2013 

A brush fire covering more than 200 acres in Prosser forced some people to evacuate their homes Tuesday for a short time, a fire official said.

Residents in the Montecito Estates subdivision near Kelandren Drive returned to their homes late Tuesday afternoon.

No homes were damaged during the fire and no injuries were reported, said Prosser Fire District 3 Chief Douglas Merritt. Utility trailers and a few small buildings were damaged.

Resident Monica Ray, 34, used a garden hose to make sure the fire didn’t damage her house. She left after officials told her to evacuate.

"There's a canal above our house and the fire jumped it," Ray said. "We got the hoses out, but the firefighters got there pretty quick."

Crews had the fire out around 3 p.m. and worked into the evening to make sure it didn't flare back up.

The fire started around 10:30 a.m. near Kelandren and burned south of Highway 22 before spreading into Horse Heaven Hills, Merritt said. The cause has not been determined.

An unexpected wind shift caused trouble for firefighting crews, Merritt said. A section of Highway 22 to Richards Road was closed, but later reopened.

"We had an 180 degree shift on us and it started blowing on us down the hill," Merritt said. "We haven't had that happen before."

Around 80 firefighters and 43 fire vehicles from agencies around the Mid-Columbia were at the scene. The state Department of Fish & Wildlife also assisted.

The assistance from other crews, especially with the wind shift, was vital to keeping residents and houses safe, Merritt said.

"Everybody did an awesome job," he said. "The sporadic houses each had good green belts around them, which helped."

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