Wildfire near Gorge Amphitheatre accidentally started by boaters, no charges expected

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GEORGE, WA – Firefighters in Central Washington say they’ve put the Sunland Fire out, and there’s no longer a threat to the public. They are still mopping up the 600-acre wildfire that broke out yesterday afternoon near the Gorge Amphitheatre, but have lifted all evacuation warnings.

Sheriff’s deputies have now determined boaters sparked the fire when they came onshore to have lunch. Their campfire near the Columbia River spread into some brush and got out of control when the winds picked up.

Those winds pushed the fire in the opposite direction of the Gorge, so the annual Sasquatch Festival continued without interruption. But sheriffs did have to evacuate other campsites.

“One of the more popular areas is the Frenchman Coulee area, which is off Vantage Highway,” says Kyle Foreman with the Grant County Sheriff’s Office. “It’s popular for boating and rock climbing, so we sent deputies down there to notify people to get out of the area.”

No one was injured and no homes were lost, so sheriff’s deputies don’t expect to file any charges against the boaters who started this wildfire.