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I-25 grass fire burns nearly 2,000 acres, cause unknown

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Midday Thursday a grass fire started just off of I-25 north of Kaycee and burned nearly 2,000 acres before being contained by forces. The fire blew to the north and stretched along the interstate, burning west of I-25, east of Old Highway 87, and north of Reno Road. The fire was fought from both the ground and the air, with planes dropping slurry to slow the flames. The fire was contained by late Thursday afternoon. As of Friday afternoon, the cause was unknown. 

Planes flew overhead of ground crews dropping slurry on the edges of the fire to help slow its spread

Planes flew overhead of ground crews dropping slurry on the edges of the fire to help slow its spread on Thursday. Slurry is a combination of fire retardant and water that is died red so that pilots and crews can see where it is dropped on the ground. The fire stretched along the west side of I-25 between Kaycee and Buffalo and burned almost 2000 acres before being controlled and put out by firefighters. The cause of the fire was still unknown as of Friday afternoon.

Leif Hanson points to where along the edge of the fire he is headed

Leif Hanson points to where along the edge of the fire he is headed on Thursday afternoon. Burning on Hanson’s property, him and friend Mark Foster took water tanks on four wheelers to check for hot spots and small flames left behind after the firefighters moved up the fire line to make sure nothing caught again and moved toward the house. Workers were able to stop the flames from reaching any of the buildings or the house on Hanson’s property.

Chase Gosney sprays water on a small fire line as John Hanson follows

Chase Gosney sprays water on a small fire line as John Hanson follows along in the tanker on Thursday. The line was surrounded by burnt out grass so the pair decided to quickly put it out before continuing to the front of the fire on to fill up firetrucks rather than call someone backwards. Gooney said the start of the fire was on his property near the interstate, but didn’t know how it started.

Nick Zezas starts the water pump so that he can transfer water from his tanker

Nick Zezas starts the water pump so that he can transfer water from his tanker to the smaller fire truck tanker to deliver water to the trucks actually fighting the fire. Zezas brought water in and when he realized he couldn’t refill his tanker in the nearby pond, he returned home for another load of water to bring back.

Craig Walker hands down a few water bottles to Chase Gosney and John Hanson

Craig Walker hands down a few water bottles to Chase Gosney, blue, and John Hanson as fellow firefighter Will Haines watches the pump. Gosney and Hanson volunteered to help with the fire and were running the tanker that hauled water from the larger tankers to the individual fire trucks.

John Hanson pulls a hose until it is secure along the side of the tanker

 John Hanson pulls a hose until it is secure along the side of the tanker they were driving before returning to a larger truck to refill their water supply. Hanson keeps a scanner with him and when he heard about the fire came to help.

The fire burned, then smoked and ultimately was put out

The fire burned, then smoked and ultimately was put out by a combination of slurry and water by both ground and air crews. 

John Hanson and Chase Gosney talk with Lee Graves as he refills their water

John Hanson and Chase Gosney talk with Lee Graves as he refills their water supply at one of the pull offs on northbound I-25. Several tanker trucks brought water from their homes or towns to help the firefighters. Graves hauled the truck load North from Kaycee.

Anthony Graves douses the persistent flames on the fence posts

Anthony Graves douses the persistent flames on the fence posts while his dad Dan follows behind with the truck. The pair were working up the fence line trying to put out the flames on the fence so it couldn’t spread.

John Hanson steps down out of the tanker to help fill up another fire truck

John Hanson steps down out of the tanker to help fill up another fire truck that was empty so it could return back to the fire. Hanson helped work on this tanker to keep it up and running. Hanson said he thought the tanker was rebuilt in the 70s but was originally made in the 50s. The tanker he estimated could hold about 1200 gallons of water to take out and deliver to the other fire trucks.

Photojournalist

Jessi Dodge joined the Bulletin as a photojournalist and a Report for America corp member in 2020. If you have ideas or comments, reach out at jessi@buffalobulletin.com.

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