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Wildfire burning near Hanford site

KENNEWICK – A wildfire burning in Benton County, Washington, shut down roads and forced the evacuation of some workers at the Hanford nuclear site.

KING-TV reports that all non-essential employees north of the Wye Barricade were sent home due to heavy smoke in the area, which impacted visibility.

Rae Moss, a Hanford spokesperson, says the fire started Sunday at a firing range in Yakima County.

In response, the Washington state Department of Transportation closed State Route 24 and parts of State Route 240.

SR-24 is closed between Silver Dollar and the Hanford West gate.

The Grant County Sheriff’s Office sent out an alert early Monday saying the Columbia River was closed from Priest Rapids Dam to south of the Vernita Bridge. That was because firefighting aircraft were pulling water from the river to fight the Benton County fire.

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