Fire hits near Polo Ranch due to downed powerlines

Fire weather warnings are lighting up southeastern Wyoming and that very weather may have actually started the fire. Multiple agencies are busy tonight with...
Published: Apr. 23, 2022 at 8:54 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Fire weather warnings are lighting up southeastern Wyoming and that very weather may have actually started the fire.

Multiple agencies are busy tonight with a dangerous fire west of Cheyenne.

The fire started around Polo Ranch Road and had a large source of fuel to pull from. A downed power line sparked into one of several piles of wood chips, rail ties and cut logs, igniting a fire that started around 2 o’clock.

Emergency crews are trying to contain the flames but are having difficulties due to high winds.

Twelve emergency agencies were on the scene to fight the fire.

Including the Laramie County Fire Authorities Fire District 1, 6, and 10. Wyoming International Guard, F.E.. Warren Fire Department, The Sheriff’s Office, the Emergency Management Agency, the Fire Warden, the Salvation Army, Laramie County Public Works, the Polo Ranch Mine, and The Laramie County Combined Communications Center.

The fire was approximately about the size of a football field at 100 yards wide and 3 quarters of a mile long.

Fire crews faced multiple challenges like 30 to 40-MPH winds. Water also needs to be transported from 20 minutes away.

“One of the major concerns we have here in the county is our water supply. We rely very heavily on what is called a water tinder that carries anywhere between 2,000 and 5,000 gallons of water. They are having to fill up more in town by the Walmart distribution center at one of those hydrants. So we’ve established what is called a water relay to get the water to the fire,” said Matt Butler, Laramie County Fire Warden.

There are no available hydrants in this rural area, and the nearest hydrants are 20 minutes away.

Construction backhoes and bulldozers were used to gather and douse the flaming logs.

Fortunately, the westerly winds pushed the flames away from nearby houses.

Officials asked Burlington Northern Railways to shut down their lines as flames approached the rail lines.

”We’re pretty well protected here in a little gully. Either side we have the railroad tracks on one side and another high ridge on the other. So the wind is having an effect so that is probably our major obstacle,” said Butler.

There were no reported injuries. The Salvation Army brought water and food for the firefighters who were expected to be working there for a while

Sheriffs are re-directing traffic north of Polo Ranch Road and Round Top.

“As we approach this summer season this is a prime example as to why to be fire conscious and fire safe. Watch those sparks watch those recreational fires that we have especially with the fireworks being legal in the county. We really urge resident to think twice about setting off fireworks. It’s going to be a high fire season, so just be aware of that going into the season,” said Butler.

Emergency crews are expecting to work into the night to make sure that the flames are controlled and nothing continues to smolder.

Black Hills Energy was called to the location to examine the cause of the downed power lines.

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