Columbia River closed to boaters near Vernita Bridge for firefighting

Boaters will not be allowed to use part of the Columbia River near Vernita Bridge Monday as water is used to fight the Silver Dollar Fire.

Aircraft began using river water for fire suppression about 8 a.m.

The Columbia River was closed from about three miles downriver from the Vernita Bridge. River traffic was restricted from there upstream to Priest Rapids Dam.

Benton and Grant county sheriff’s offices had marine patrols on the river to block and stop boat traffic.

The section of the river was expected to be closed until dusk, or until aircraft operations are finished.