CASPER, Wyo. — There were no injuries in separate Sunday evening fires that burned about 40 acres, destroyed two vehicles and led deputies to prepare a subdivision for evacuation, the Natrona County Fire District said Monday.
At about 5:24 p.m., the fire district was called for a report of a wildland fire at mile marker 177 on Interstate 25 near Casper. A caller told dispatchers there was a grass fire spreading quickly to the north. Another caller reported a fire moving into the grass at mile marker 178, where the Wyoming Department of Transportation was reporting a stalled vehicle.
A video shared to Oil City News by Stacie Slaughter-Gottsch shows a car at mile marker 178 fully engulfed in flames as her vehicle passes by.
Multiple Natrona County Fire District units responded to the calls. Assisting agencies included Public Safety Communications of Casper, Evansville Fire-EMS, Bar Nunn Fire Department, Casper Mountain Fire District, Bureau of Land Management – High Plains Fire District (dispatch and fire units), Casper Fire-EMS, Natrona County Sheriff’s Office, Wyoming Highway Patrol, Wyoming Department of Transportation, and Rocky Mountain Power, a fire district press release states.
Brush trucks started fire suppression efforts on the wildland fire and structure engines worked to put out the vehicle fire, the district’s release stated. Law enforcement controlled traffic.
The wildland fire at mile marker 177 was contained at 31 acres, while the fire at mile marker 178 was contained at nine acres.
“Both fires had potential to become much larger incidents but thanks to the fast response and hard work of firefighters on scene, they were kept relatively small,” the district’s release said.
Evacuations were initiated for the Cow Hollow subdivision off the Old Glenrock Highway. Natrona County Sheriff’s Office deputies worked to alert the subdivision and placed it in the “Ready” phase of the evacuation process. Once the fires were knocked down and contained, the evacuations were lifted, according to the release.
Fire crews determined that the stalled vehicle at mile marker 178 caused both fires. The driver said he was having mechanical issues when the engine caught fire. He pulled off to the side of the road, where his vehicle became fully engulfed and started the second fire, the fire district said.
“The vehicle was destroyed; but thankfully, the driver of the vehicle was not injured,” the release states.
While crews were finishing mopping up on those fires, another vehicle fire was reported at around 7:25 p.m. around Coal Creek Road and Opal Street. A caller said the vehicle was on the side of the road and fully engulfed. Fire units responded from the I-25 fires, and additional units were called. When units arrived, the fire was spreading to nearby grasses, the release states.
“Firefighters were able to get a quick knockdown on the wildland aspect of the incident to prevent it from spreading any further and then began extinguishing the vehicle fire,” the release said.
It was the vehicle’s mechanical issues that started the fire, crews determined. The driver said he was headed home when smoke started pouring from the engine compartment. The vehicle caught fire shortly after, the fire district reported.
“The vehicle was destroyed; but thankfully, this driver also made it out of the vehicle uninjured,” the release states.
“All these incidents, yet again, show how well interagency cohesion worked with our mutual aid partners and agencies,” the district added. “NCFD would like to thank all units and resources that assisted in these fires. We would like to take this time to remind everyone to watch out for emergency vehicles that are responding to incidents and operating along the side of the road. We ask that you please slow down and move out of the way, to the best of your ability, when you see lights and hear sirens. Also, remain vigilant on your driving when passing emergency scenes, still slow down and move cautiously around the scene if you come upon one.”