YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. — Geologists will be back out at Rattlesnake Ridge near Yakima, as they warn that the hillside could give way anytime.
The level three evacuation was put into place for people living nearby. A level three is the highest designation and it means danger to the area is current or imminent and that people in the area should evacuate immediately. It’s also the last notice people will receive.
The ground began breaking apart back in October but over the past few days, there has been increased movement. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources says a landslide could happen at any time.
Last week there were two small earthquakes in the area. An adjunct geology professor at Washington State University’s Tri-Cities campus told the Yakima Herald-Republic that it doesn’t appear the 2.7 and 2.5 tremors had contributed to the fissure along the ridge.
About 35 people living at the base of the ridge haven’t evacuated. Officials say the hillside is moving an average of 1.4 feet per week.
Rattlesnake Ridge forms the eastern side of a gap in ridges separating the Upper and Lower Yakima Valleys. Running through the gap are Interstate 82, the Yakima River, and Highway 97.