A fire that scorched more than 100 acres in the Juniper Dunes Wilderness about 15 miles northeast of Pasco is being investigated as "suspicious," fire officials said.
"It doesn't appear to be accidental," said Franklin County Fire District 3 Chief Les Litzenberger.
The fire started before 3 p.m. in an area where no one is believed to have been riding off-road vehicles -- a popular activity at Juniper Dunes -- but fire investigators still are looking at the cause, Litzenberger told the Herald.
Firefighters from District 3, Pasco, Benton County District 1 and Walla Walla District 5 battled strong winds as they tried to douse the blaze. They had it contained about 6 p.m.
Litzenberger advised people engaging in outdoor recreation to exercise caution because of the wind and dry conditions.
"It is really early for this kind of fire, but everything out there is dry and ready to go," he said.