Fire crews still trying to smother 250-acre fire that closed Highway 12 for 4 hours

Firefighters were working Tuesday to snuff out the last patches of brush left smoldering by a wild fire that burned more than 250 acres near Wallula Junction.

A small area is continuing to burn after a flare up Tuesday morning, and crews are expecting to continue working through the day to put out other hotspots, Lt. Tyler Peters with Walla Walla County Fire District 5 told the Herald.

The fire is about 50 percent contained but isn’t getting any larger, he said.

Washington state Fish and Wildlife officials are considering bringing in helicopters to help battle the last of the flames.

Investigators are still trying to determine what started the fire north of the Walla Walla River along Highway 12 about 12:45 p.m. Monday.

Winds with gusts of up to 40 mph pushed the fire across the highway and into Madame Dorion Memorial Park at the junction of highways 12 and 730 along the Columbia River.

Firefighting efforts shut down both lanes of Highway 12 between the Boise Paper plant and the junction for about four hours.

The fire knocked down power lines running through the area.

Walla Walla County Fire District firefighters were helped by Walla Walla, Pasco, Richland and Hanford fire departments as well as Benton County fire districts 2 and 4, Franklin County Fire District 3 and Walla Walla County fire districts 4 and 6.

They also had help from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

No one was hurt and no structures were threatened.