Benton and Franklin Counties listed at very high, extreme fire danger

Benton County firefighters responded to a brush fire on the median Thursday morning in Benton City.

TRI-CITIES, Wash. – With the brittle and dry environment and increasing fire danger, firefighters are responding to a lot of fires in our region.

Firefighters say there's no denying it—fire season is here.

Benton and Franklin Counties are both currently listed as very high, to extreme fire danger, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

"So what that means is the ability of the fuel to burn, it’s ready to go," said Captain Ed Dunbar of Benton County Fire District 4.

Benton County firefighters responded to a brush fire on the median Thursday morning in Benton City.

Kennewick firefighters and police are also investigating a brush fire along Clearwater on Wednesday.

"The speculation is that maybe the fire was started by a discarded cigarette or something similar," said Sgt. Randy Maynard of the Kennewick Police Department.

Police say to never toss anything lit like a cigarette outside of a car.

"You can be fined and or criminally punished because of that," Sgt. Maynard said.

Firefighters say if you see a fire on the side of the highway, or a road, to not only call 911 but also if you can, safely pull over on the side of the road to monitor the fire. Stay on the line with dispatch so that way you can help firefighters find it.

"Let us work with you to understand what's going on, if it is a fire, we need to identify it and get it on it quickly," Capt. Dunbar said.

Firefighter say with the very high fire danger they're concerned about brush fires on the Fourth of July.

"You throw a bottle rocket or a firework off in that cheatgrass its off and gone—boom—its off and running," Dunbar said.

If you do decide to light fireworks at home, firefighters say always have a hose or a bucket of water close by, be very cautious, and don't ever hesitate to call 911.

"The longer we get a delay in the 911 notifications there's a fire, the bigger the fire is, the more resources it takes to get it out," Dunbar explained.

The fire department says it’s safer to take your family to the professional firework shows instead.

If you have any information on the roadside brush fires in Kennewick or Benton City, you're asked to call law enforcement.

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