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TW fire extinguished

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Editor's note: The drone footage was filmed Aug. 24 after officials lifted a temporary flight restriction over the fire. The Bulletin sought and received permission from officials working in the area to fly the drone.  

The TW fire, an almost 3,000-acre fire southeast of Buffalo, was contained the morning of Aug. 25, allowing firefighters to head home after five days battling the flames.

The blaze charred a large expanse of land off of Tipperary Road about 15 miles outside of Buffalo. No structures were harmed, but a significant amount of grazing land and fencing was destroyed, according to Marilyn Connolly, Johnson County’s emergency management coordinator. 

“I think the big loss out there is people’s grazing,” Connolly said.

A precise cost estimate won’t be available until later this week as officials tally up the damage and cost of the work. Payment will be split between the responding agencies, as the fire stretched across 1,747 acres of private land, 609 acres of state land and 290 acres of federal land. 

Connolly said it will take some time before a payment agreement can be worked out.

At the fire’s peak, three crews and six engines were on scene. Two helicopters and a plane dropped water and performed reconnaissance. More than 100 firefighters were on hand, from the Buffalo Volunteer Fire Department, Johnson County Fire District No. 1, Campbell County Fire, the Bureau of Land Management and Wyoming State Forestry. 

The fire — a Type 3 incident later downgraded to Type 4 — was first reported in the afternoon of Sunday, Aug. 21. By Aug. 23, the fire was 50% contained, and by Aug. 24, the fire was 76% contained. That morning, crews began to demobilize, helped by rain showers. Those remaining mopped up the fire until Thursday at about 11 a.m. 

The cause of the fire is under investigation, though Connolly said she was doubtful investigators would ever know for sure what started it. 

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