Bateman Island closed until further notice after fire

Bird's eye view photo of Bateman Island following a fire. (Courtesy: Richland Fire & Emergency Services)

Bateman Island is now closed for a few weeks and possibly through the summer after wildfire started up Sunday evening.

Richland’s Fire Chief Tom Huntington says the area will smolder for several more weeks and the extensive damage to trees could pose a risk of collapse and could hurt someone if they were in the area.

He adds they have mostly contained the fire and will continue to monitor it. Crews from four agencies worked overnight from Sunday to Monday to fight the blaze which spread to about half of the 160 acres. The exact cause of the fire remains undetermined, however it is believed to be human caused. Huntington says once it started it quickly spread to the heavy underbrush.

No one was hurt in the blazed. Crews say they had to escort a number of people off of the island Sunday night, which is a natural recreation area and wildlife habitat area owned by the Army Corp of Engineers.