Ron Traver was playing disc golf in Columbia Park when he got an alarming call Sunday afternoon.
“I got a call from my aunt who said, ‘Hey, I think there’s a fire by your house,’ ” he said.
Traver, who has lived in Prosser for a year, was one of many who had their homes threatened by an 8,000-acre blaze starting about 1 p.m. Sunday.
He rushed back to pick up his two dogs and a few belongings.
“It’s weird, during a disaster, going into your room and saying, ‘What can I live without?’ ” Traver said.
He took his motorcycle and some photos while a friend loaded up the dogs. As he drove away, he saw flames near the side of his neighbor’s home on Richards Road.
He and his wife spent the night at a hotel, where he saw at least 30 others staying even though the Red Cross set up an evacuation center at Housel Middle School.
Fortunately, none of those residences were lost. The fact that none of those structures were lost is pretty remarkable.
Marcus Deyerin, Northwest Washington Incident Management
Many residents stayed with friends or in hotels, said Marcus Deyerin with Northwest Washington Incident Management.
A little after midnight, the evacuation order was lifted after fire crews were able to control the blaze. Deyerin said the only building that burned was a barn.
“Fortunately, none of those residences were lost,” he said. “The fact that none of those structures were lost is pretty remarkable.”
The fire was one of the largest to threaten the Benton County seat in years, said Dave Stockdale, Prosser’s city administrator.
“Nobody ever remembers a time of a fire getting that close to the city before,” he said.
Nobody ever remembers a time of a fire getting that close to the city before.
Dave Stockdale, Prosser city administrator
The flames threatened at least 30 of the 150 homes evacuated around the town, Stockdale said. He said that work between city officials, the school district, law enforcement and firefighters helped people through the night.
“They did a really good job of doing what they do to keep the fire away,” Stockdale said.
By Monday morning, about 75 firefighters from several agencies were monitoring the area and putting out hot spots.
The cause of the fire that began at South Ward Gap Road and Richards Road is still unknown but under investigation.
Also west of Yakima:
▪ Fire crews near Nile responded to a a growing wildfire near Boulder Cave on the Naches Ranger District. The 100-acre fire caused evacuations of Halfway Flat and Sawmill Flat campgrounds Sunday. Those traveling near Highway 410 are advised to stay alert for fire crews in the area.