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Fire burning on island in Yakima River not a cause for alarm, fire officials say

Sept. 8, 2022 Updated Thu., Sept. 8, 2022 at 8:42 p.m.

By Vanessa Ontiveros Yakima Herald-Republic

A small fire burning on an island in the Yakima River east of Union Gap does not pose a threat to people or property, though smoke may be visible, East Valley Fire Department Chief Dale Hille said.

The fire was burning on an island in the Yakima River near the area where Interstate 82 and U.S. Highway 97 converge east of Union Gap, Hille said. It started over the weekend but flared up again Thursday, Hille said.

The cause is unknown.

Since the island is surrounded by water, it is inaccessible by vehicle or foot, Hille said.

Fire department personnel have been keeping an eye on the situation, but a mission to extinguish the fire would require loading crews and equipment onto a boat.

The remoteness of the fire means it poses little immediate threat to people or property. Dry brush provided the fuel, Hille said. The fire could jump from the island to a new location under the right wind conditions, so the department will continue to monitor it.

“There’s always that possibility, but we’re not really anticipating it because it burned out quite a bit this weekend,” he said.

Hille said dispatch is aware of the situation in case any community members call in to report smoke in the area.

The island fire is not related to the 1-acre wildland fire that broke out Wednesday evening near the Yakima Greenway, Hille said. The wildland fire, which burned near milepost 32 on Interstate 82 took several hours to get under control, according to a Facebook post from the city of Yakima Fire Department. There were no injuries or structural damage, and the cause was unknown as of Thursday.

Crews from the city of Yakima Fire Department, East Valley Fire Department and Yakima Training Center responded to the initial Greenway fire, the post said.

Hille said a review of the scene Thursday morning addressed any lingering hot spots from that wildland fire.

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