Richland closes access to Bateman Island until further notice - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Richland closes access to Bateman Island until further notice

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RICHLAND, WA - Richland Fire & Emergency Services have mostly contained and are continuing to monitor the weekend fire on Bateman Island. The fire was reported on 7/16/16 at approximately 6:00 p.m. Currently, there are several fire lines that are still uncontained; however, fire crews from Richland Fire & Emergency Services as well as the US Fish & Wildlife Services remain on the scene to work on containment.

Crews from four agencies were on hand Sunday night through Monday am to fight the blaze. Fire personnel from Richland, Kennewick and Benton County Fire Districts 1 and 2 as well as Franklin County Fire District 3 worked throughout the night to extinguish most of the flames that left approximately one half of the 160 acre natural area affected.

The exact cause of the fire remains undetermined, however it is believed to be human caused. Once ignited, it spread quickly through the dry, heavy underbrush. No injuries have been reported.

The public are instructed to avoid the Bateman Island area indefinitely as the native low lying vegetation and undergrowth is expected to continue to smolder for up to several weeks. There is also extensive damage to burned out trees which pose a risk of collapsing and causing injury. The closure may last throughout the summer.

"We understand Bateman Island is a popular destination and valuable resource for our citizens," states Richland Fire & Emergency Services Chief, Tom Huntington. "However, at this time the safety of our community is our utmost priority. This closure is in cooperation with the Army Corps of Engineers."

The property is owned by the Army Corps of Engineers and is managed / leased by the City of Richland. Updates will be shared via the City's Facebook page at @richlandWA and at www.ci.richland.wa.us.

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