Morning rainstorm helps contain wildfire south of Kennewick

Early morning rain helped bring a 75-acre wildfire south of Kennewick under control.

Firefighters are still trying to determine what sparked the blaze near the intersection of Toothaker Road and Meals Road near Hover Park at 3:40 p.m. Thursday, said Ron Fryer, public information officer for Benton County Fire District 1.

The wind-driven fire burned in tall grass and Russian olives, and firefighting efforts were made more difficult by swampy ground in the area, Fryer said.

Heavy smoke and firefighting traffic closed the two roads for the afternoon.

About 40 firefighters were fighting the blaze at 9 p.m. before the rain. Benton County Fire District 1 had help from Benton County fire districts 2 and 4, West Benton Fire and Rescue and Richland, Pasco and Washington Department of Fire and Wildlife fire departments

When rain dampened the area, it let firefighters catch up with the flames. It was 75 percent contained by 8 a.m.

While the fire initially was heading toward nearby homes, firefighters were able to stop it from reaching them. No buildings were damaged and no people were hurt.

Fire danger in Benton and Franklin counties continues to be high. Officials are asking people to be careful with outside fires, since most wildfires are caused by people.

Cameron Probert covers breaking news and education for the Tri-City Herald, where he tries to answer readers’ questions about why police officers and firefighters are in your neighborhood. He studied communications at Washington State University.