Prosser fire burns more than 1,000 acres

Tri-City HeraldJuly 15, 2014 

A brush fire east of Prosser burned more than 1,000 acres Tuesday, while firefighters also dealt with blazes in Kennewick and West Richland, officials said.

The Prosser fire started around 1:30 p.m. near the Interstate 82 interchange at Gibbon Road, said Kennewick Fire Chief Neil Hines, whose department was one of 10 to respond.

Around 100 firefighters responded to the blaze, which was 80 percent contained by Tuesday evening, said Deputy Chief Lonnie Click with Benton Fire District 1.

Another fire burned about 25 acres at Lost Lake near West Richland. With temperatures reaching triple digits Tuesday, Benton Fire District 4 Chief Bill Whealan said one firefighter was hospitalized for heat exhaustion and later released.

About 30 firefighters responded to the fire from five departments, Whealan said.

It was under control by Tuesday evening, but firefighters continued to patrol it.

"We don't want it to take off again when we're not there," he said.

No fires were reported in Franklin County, but Franklin Fire District 3 kept busy with fires in other areas. Chief Mike Harris said firefighters were returning from the Mills Canyon Fire near Entiat when they were diverted to the Prosser fire. But they were then diverted to a fire at Hildebrand and Clodfelter roads in Kennewick.

The district then sent a water tender truck and engine to the Lost Lake fire, Harris said.

No injuries have been reported in the fire.

Near Vantage, a roughly 20-mile stretch of Interstate 90 in central Washington was closed in both directions on Tuesday evening because of a brush fire that jumped containment lines.

The closure stretched from Kittitas to the Vantage Bridge.

Washington State Patrol worked with fire officials to make sure Interstate 82 near Prosser remained open.

Harris said he tells firefighters to drink two bottles of water and a sports drink each hour and to take a break every 90 minutes when working in the heat to fight the fires.

"Don't skip meals," he said. "You can't let your fuel tank run empty."

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