As 2012 rolls to an end, the Yakima Herald-Republic looks back at the most significant stories of the year.

Several of the stories that dominated headlines this year stemmed from events rooted in 2011, including the continuing saga surrounding the deaths of three members of a West Valley family and the drawn-out departure of the Yakima Bears. Also like last year, a devastating fire — but one far larger than the one that ripped through White Swan in 2011 — figures high on the list.

Follow the links below to read more about each story, watch videos and see photo galleries.

The top stories in 2012 were:

Part 1:

1. Wildland fires in Kittitas County

2. Triple-murder charges dropped against suspect Kevin Harper

3. Yakima Bears leave Yakima for Hillsboro, Ore.

4. Yakima hires Tony O’Rourke as city manager

5. Valley agriculture enjoys record crop sizes and prices

Part 2:

7. State privatizes liquor industry

8. Yakima County jail faces ongoing budget woes

9. (Tied) Dan Gaub dies amid questions of financial impropriety

Yakima Valley sees return of J.C. Penney and a new Cabela’s Outpost store

10. Redistricting Commission approves Latino-majority legislative district

See the Yakima Herald-Republic photographers’ best pictures of 2012 here.

Read about the stories that topped the list statewide by clicking here.