We expected this, the City of Richland announced Monday afternoon Bateman Island will be closed indefinitely, due to fire and habitat damage. It will likely be months before mainstream hiking, recreating and bird and wildlife watching traffic is allowed.

The Sunday evening blaze didn't hurt anyone, or destroy any buildings, but it did scorch at least 106 of the 160 acres on the island, making it the biggest burn there in decades. An August 2001 fire burned about 90.

In that incident, it took nearly two years of very limited or no access to restore the habitat for birds, animals and other critters. We don't have any idea how long this will last, but it's serious.

City officials say the trees that are still standing are burned out, and pretty much dead, they just haven't fallen. But they will start doing so soon. The closure isn't just due to habitat, as hot spots and cinder pockets post a threat to people, as well as the burned out trees seen in the photos. They pose a falling and debris hazard.

Images courtesy of the City of Richland.

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