Rattlesnake Hills Fire near Moxee now 85% contained - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Rattlesnake Hills Fire near Moxee now 85% contained

Posted: Updated:

7-7-17 UPDATE:

MOXEE, WA - Firefighters have made some great advancements fighting the Rattlesnake Hills Fire near Moxee. So far, the fire has burned thousands of acres.

Today, reporter Gilbert Magallon learned that the fire has now been 85% contained, and firefighters haven't seen any smoke since early this morning. Right now, they're monitoring the fire to ensure it doesn't get out of hand.

We were told by fire officials that the fire has burned close to 3,000 acres of land so far. It started Wednesday night on the northeast corner of Rattlesnake Hills off I-82. It quickly spread, and evacuations were put in place and the state took over.

Since crews have more control of the fire today, evacuations have been lifted and the state is reducing its resources.

The only thing standing in the way of fire crews right now is a Red Flag Warning, which could cause winds to ignite the fire.

"I think by tomorrow we will turn this back over to the locals again," said Tim McKern, PIO with the Incident Management Team. "But today will be our test, with the wind coming in and the way the weather is, the group that's up there now is going to work really hard."

No homes have been damaged and no people have been hurt. Tonight, only one crew will be assigned to watch and monitor the area.

Meanwhile, all roads near the Rattlesnake Hills are open again. Crews expect to reach 100% containment by tomorrow at noon.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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4:30 PM UPDATE:

EAST VALLEY, WA - More than 100 firefighters are battling the Rattlesnake Hills Fire.

The fire started overnight. Reporter Veronica Padilla learned that it started around 10:00 p.m., and has already destroyed more than 5,000 acres.

The fire started on the northeast corner of Rattlesnake Hills off I-82. It's currently burning in four jurisdictions, and in Yakima County Fire Districts #4 and #5 as well as BLM and state DNR land.

No structures have been lost, but 25-30 structures are currently under threat from the fire.

One big concern is the air quality impact this fire is having. Officials recommend those with respiratory issues to be extra careful.

The weather will be a factor in this fire...the wind hasn't been too bad today, but that could change at any time. Low humidity and temps approaching 100 degrees will cause a lot of fatigue for firefighters. 

Believe it or not, officials say the heat will have more of an effect on the firefighters than the fire itself. The heat will speed up the drying process of what's fueling the fire, but crews are more worried about the wind. It has not been concerning today, winds have been relatively calm.

However, keeping the firefighters healthy is a big concern, which is where East Valley Fire EMTs come in. They also serve as a fire support team. They're set up to provide food and plenty of cold water to the crews who are coming from the fire line. 

And if any firefighters are hurt, they'll go through checks with the EMTs to make sure they're okay. But the vehicle the EMTs use not only has extra tanks for firefighters but also serves as a tank fill station.

"What makes this vehicle special is it has its own compressor on it," said Jerry Simons, an East Valley Fire Dept. EMT. "So we can run this continuously, stay on site the entire time and when we have other districts come and help us in a fire we can support them as well."

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7:48 AM UPDATE:

EAST VALLEY, WA - Firefighters tell NBC Right Now the 4th alarm brush fire has burned 3,000 to 5,000 acres and is 0% contained. No injuries have been reported and no buildings have been damaged. Several homes are still being threatened.

Helicopters have been called out to help fight the flames. 

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EAST VALLEY, WA - Firefighters are trying to get control of a third alarm brush threatening homes in East Valley. It started near the 3200 Block of Thorp Road around 11 Wednesday night.

Firefighters tell NBC Right Now the fire has burned about 2,000 acres since starting. There are are no mandatory evacuations in place but firefighters are strongly encouraging people to leave the area. There is full structure protection in place for homes in the area.

Red Cross had an emergency shelter set up at Roosevelt Elementary school, but they have since closed it. 

This is a developing story. 

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