Fire burning in Eastern Washington near Hanford

KENNEWICK, Wash. — A wildfire burning in Benton County, Washington, that shut down roads and forced the evacuation of some workers at the Hanford nuclear site has burned about 31 square miles by Monday.

The Tri-City Herald reports the blaze was burning mostly west of Hanford and about 35 miles east of Yakima. The Hanford Fire Department had it contained on the nuclear reservation at 6 a.m. Monday, with no structures or contaminated areas burned.

The fire overall was about 30 percent contained, said Jacob Welsh, a fire information officer.

An evacuation order for a remote area of Benton County, the Barrell Springs area, had been lifted by Monday afternoon.

Highway 240 remained closed at the Yakima Barricade to the Junction of Highway 225 Monday afternoon. Parts of Highway 24 were also was closed.

Water from the Columbia River was being used to fight the fire from the air.

The river was closed to boaters Monday starting at 8 a.m. about three miles downstream from the Vernita Bridge to allow water to be collected from the river. The closure extended up the river to the Priest Rapids Dam.

Benton and Grant county sheriff's offices were blocking and patrolling the closed section of the river. The river was expected to be closed until dusk or until aircraft were no longer needed for fire suppression.

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