Lightning ignites four fires across Tri-Cities

RICHLAND, Wash. - Waves of giant thunderstorms roared through our area. Bringing with it hail and plenty of lightning strikes. Needless to say to say it was a hectic day for firefighters.

For many, it was the storm showdown of the year. Rolling thunderstorms across the Columbia Basin and Yakima Valley. Pitch-forked lightning lit up the sky. Some even got dumped with of hail the size of a cherry. Everyone we talked to was taken aback by the storm's force.

"I heard thunder outside my window," said Tri-City resident Megan Starky.
"There were these incredible clashes of thunder," added Richland resident Dennis Walters.

Dennis Walters watched the whole storm unfold. But he was startled when his neighbor told him Badger Mountain was on fire.

"Man, the hill's on fire!'" exclaimed Walters.

Firefighters worked to control the 60 acre blaze. The morning downpour helped snuff it out.

Lightning ignited at least three other separate fires across the Tri-Cities. A small fire on the backside of Badger. Another over on Van Gieson and Kingston Road. And a fourth near Badger Canyon, worth an acre and a half.

Firefighters say these severe storms require teamwork.

"We have great relationships with our neighboring departments as well. We all work closely together to tap these fires quickly," said Richland Fire Battalion Chief Curtis Walsh.

Power got knocked out for about 1200 homes in North Richland. Firefighters responded to the area of Thayer Drive and Wilson St. The majority of cases were resolved by the afternoon. Officials continue to investigate the exact cause.

"I'm glad it didn't do any more damage than it did," said Walters.

The threat of fires remains a big concern for emergency workers. Richland firefighters ask residents to not set off any fireworks for the remainder of Saturday evening.