Highways may reopen at 6 p.m.

Silver Dollar Fire races from north of Sunnyside to Hanford Nuclear Reservation

A wildfire crew drives past the raging Silver Dollar Fire on Sunday evening north of Sunnyside.

Photo by Roger Harnack
A wildfire crew drives past the raging Silver Dollar Fire on Sunday evening north of Sunnyside.



— Fire officials may give the go-ahead to reopen state Highways 24 and 240 at 6 p.m., following the next evaluation of wildfire activity.

“If all public and firefighter safety concerns can be met, all road closures will be lifted,” according to a statement issued by the federal Bureau of Land Management-Spokane District. Chris Hutsell has been assigned incident commander.

The highways were closed yesterday afternoon when the Silver Dollar Fire broke out north of Sunnyside, near the intersection of state Highways 24 (near Milepost 30) and Highway 241. Highways 24 and 240 remain closed; Highway 241 remains open to the intersection.

Video

Hanford Highway fire

A short video of what it's like as a wildfire approaches as it quickly consumes dry grass and sage brush. This video was taken in the Cold Creek Road area off state Highway 24, west of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

A short video of what it's like as a wildfire approaches as it quickly consumes dry grass and sage brush. This video was taken in the Cold Creek Road area off state Highway 24, west of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Two separate blazes started, one on each side of the Silver Dollar Café, officials said, noting the flames grew together and raced through dry grass and sage to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

As of 2 p.m. today, the fire had destroyed about 20,000 acres in Yakima and Benton counties. The blaze is about 30 percent contained, with 400 personnel assigned.

Fire bombers are helping slow the spread of the blaze using both retardant and water.

At 7 p.m. Sunday, five small fire bombers were in the lineup dropping water on hotspots along state Highway 24, east of the Sunnyside turnoff. Tanker trucks then rolled through the area, spraying water on the smoldering areas alongside the road and on the hot asphalt itself.

Tankers and helitack teams were on scene today, drawing water from the Columbia River above Priest Rapids, officials said, noting the U.S. Coast Guard has cordoned off the area and barred the public from accessing the water.

Area residents can expect smoky conditions as the fire continues to burn and smolder, officials said.

A cause of the blaze has yet to be determined.

The Silver Dollar Fire is the second-largest blaze burning in the state.

At 29,433 acres, the Sutherland Canyon Fire burning northwest of Quincy is the largest in the state.

Officials said earlier today that it is 90 percent contained.



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