Little changes at landslide site

— Joint Information Center of the Office of Emergency Management said Friday at a press conference that not much has changed at the site where a portion Rattlesnake Ridge is predicted to separate and slide.

Officials are still of the belief the slide will happen sometime before the end of February. The portion that is tearing away is doing so at a rate of 1.7 feet per week.

Officials are in hope the best-case scenario results when the slide happens. That would be fall into the massive hole that’s been made into the mountain mining for gravel.

One scenario officials fear is the slide falling onto Interstate 82. Another is the slide falling into the Yakima River.

For the Interstate 82 scenario, Yakima County Transportation crews have prepared by outling a detour route from Union Gap to Wapato and Toppenish on state Highway 97 and Granger and the freeway on state Highway 223.

The detour signs have been up since late last year. They are under orange wraps for now.

One concern officials have is drones flying in the area.

“The landslide is within 5 miles of the Yakima Air Terminal and underneath our main direction of approach for planes landing at the airport,” an airport spokesperson said.

“We want to make sure drone operations are conducted in a safe manner and in accordance with FAA rules.”

Drones should stay below 400 feet. Drones should stay well away from manned aircraft, especially low-flying aircraft and helicopters. Drone operators must keep their unmanned aircraft in their sight.

Drone operators are required to notify the Air Traffic Control Tower before flights. If you have questions on the process to coordinate with the Air Traffic Control Tower you can contact the airport office at 509-575-6149

“Drones and aircraft don’t mix,” a Yakima County Fire District No. 5. “Even a tiny drone can cause a serious or fatal accident if it collides with aircraft.”


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