Friday Fire Jumps Arkansas River, Heads to Lamar

Firefighters in Lamar and Prowers county were called out in force late Friday afternoon and into the evening on April 22, to combat a wind-driven blaze north and east of the city. Lamar Fire Chief Marshall Cook said the fire spread across the Arkansas River and was moving westward, blown by winds that fortunately, weren’t as strong as two weeks ago during the Ft. Lyon fire.

Arkansas River Fire East of Lamar. Canal in foreground

Spray plane douses prairie fire east of Lamar

Spray Plane Lining Up for Another Water Dump

Smoke had been visible through the afternoon, which appeared to be a regular field burn, but sometime past 5pm the fire spread and recognizable, large black and brown clouds of smoke were visible above the prairie, east and north of Maple Street, moving west. Various crews responded initially, including several passes from a spray plane which hit the fire at its western most point several times, including right up until sunset. Trees and undergrowth that spread along the river bank was outlined by the flames which climbed as high as 20 feet at some times. Earth moving equipment was called into action sometime after 7pm, moving slowly along highway 50 and passing numerous vehicles that had pulled off the road for a better view. At times the fire appeared to have become a spectator sport, with families parked on the concrete lot between Dragon Enterprises and Suetrak in the industrial park, and traveling on those county roads that still allowed access, safely enough from the fire. A Valco company employee pulled his bulldozer across the entrance road to the pits and prepared to gate off the property to the general public. Highway 196 eastbound was blocked off to traffic at the intersection just past the Big Timbers Museum, allowing only additional earth moving equipment which would be used to scrape away any potential fuel for the fire. An investigation will look into the origin of the fire. Prowers County has been under a permit-only fire ban since the commissioners enacted the ordinance several weeks ago.

Photos and Story by Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: AgricultureLamarPublic SafetyThe Journal AlertWeather


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