CASPER, Wyo. — Lightning was responsible for the destruction of multiple buildings along Arapahoe Road on Sunday.
It also sparked several wildland fires that were extinguished by the storm’s rain, according to the Natrona County Fire District.
A Tuesday morning news release says the district began receiving calls of fires around 8:30 p.m. Sunday, and crews were dispatched to the northern part of Arapahoe Road in Homa Hills. Reporting parties told Casper Public Safety Communications Center dispatchers that the field and buildings were on fire. Multiple structure and wildland units from the Natrona County Fire District and Bar Nunn Fire Department responded.
While crews were en route, dispatchers received other reports of wildland fires in the Homa Hills, Ormsby Road and northern Cole Creek Road areas, all of which were sparked by lightning, the release says.
The district requested assistance from the Bureau of Land Management-High Plains Fire, Mills Fire-EMS and Evansville Fire-EMS.
“The passing storms brought rain with the lightning and thankfully the rain was able to put out the majority of the fires that started,” the release states.
Initial arriving units to Arapahoe Road reported that multiple buildings were fully engulfed and the wildland fire was stopped by the passing rain.
“Access to the buildings was difficult due to mud and other property obstacles. Fire crews deployed extended hose lays and began fire suppression efforts on the buildings,” the district said in the release.
Property neighbors said the buildings were unoccupied and no one lived there.
Fire crews knocked down the burning buildings at 10:27 p.m. and began mop-up. Crews cleared the scene at 1:18 a.m. Monday, July 31.
There were no reports of injuries to responders or civilians, the district reported.
Reports that lightning started the fires were substantiated, and crews determined lightning caught the grass on fire near the structures and the fire moved into the buildings.
“This incident is another great example of how well interagency cohesion worked with our mutual aid partners and agencies,” the district release states. “We would like to take this time to remind everyone that if you have not prepared your home or property for wildland season yet, we strongly encourage that you prepare now. Wildland fires can happen at any time; the more you prepare now, the better it’s protected in a wildfire emergency. Thank you for your cooperation and continued support.”