Five wildland fires in Benton County kept crews busy Sunday

Tri-City HeraldJune 29, 2014 

Mid-Columbia firefighters were busy Sunday battling five fires that scorched about 700 to 800 acres in Benton County.

The first fire started at 3 p.m. and spread across wildland and crops.

Capt. Devin Helland, spokesman for Benton Fire District 1, said the fires went from Nine Canyon Road along Highway 397 to Interstate 82 and past Locust Grove Road. Four of the fires were east of the interstate.

The state Department of Transportation had to shut down Highway 397 for a few hours so fire crews could operate safely without civilian traffic in the area, Helland said. The fires were out by Sunday evening.

The flames didn’t destroy any buildings and no one was injured. The cause of each fire is under investigation.

Crews assisted from Benton Fire Districts 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, Franklin Fire District 3, Kennewick, Richland and Hanford fire departments and U.S. Fish and Wildlife.

“That’s the wonderful thing about mutual aid agreements, we get a lot of help really quick and settle these fires down,” Helland said.

A couple units were patrolling the area overnight Sunday just in case of any flare-ups.

Helland wants to remind people that “conditions out there are very dry and very friendly to fire. They have to be very careful when they’re working outside and playing outside, especially with the Fourth of July coming up.”

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