Fire District No. 1’s Resources Nearly Stretched to a Breaking Point July 4th

Fire District No. 1’s Resources Nearly Stretched to a Breaking Point July 4th

A horse barn and hay pile at 292 Quadrant caught fire last night in what was one of many fireworks-related fires firefighters were called to. Photo courtesy of Averi Lison

ROCK SPRINGS – The Fourth of July fires stretched Sweetwater County Fire District No. 1’s resources to a point of breaking as the agency was called to nine different fireworks-caused fires throughout the night. 

“We barely had enough manpower and resources to handle the influx of fire calls from fireworks,” Scott Kitchner, Fire District No. 1 Chief said.

The largest fire took place at 292 Quadrant Drive, where a fire in a horse barn and haystack had threatened multiple structures and horses trapped inside the barn. The two horses were able to be freed from the barn and were unharmed in the fire. The barn was fully engulfed in flames, as well as a 10 ton pile of hay. The home located on the property also received a moderate amount of heat damage. Firefighters were on hand for several hours as they extinguished the fire.

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“We were extremely lucky that the property owners’ home also didn’t burn down,” Kitchner said.

The first fire they were called was near Point of Rocks and about two acres. A second fire was reported at milepost 2 on Wyoming Highway 430 and was about one acre in size. The third fire was reported near Antelope Drive and Mesa Drive, which Kitchner said threatened nearby structures. Fire crews were able to put the fire out quickly before the nearby structures were lost. In total, that fire was about a quarter of an acre in size. Both Fire District No. 1 and Bureau of Land Management fire crews are mopping up at the Point of Rocks and Highway 430 fires.

As the area enters into dryer weather conditions, Kitchner and Fire District No. 1 remind residents to be cautious while they’re outdoors. He said residents should be aware that it’s illegal to shoot fireworks on federally-owned lands and they can be only used on private property within the county. Additionally, people can be held responsible for fire suppression costs associated with those fires. 

Kitchner also thanked the firefighters with both his organization and the BLM fire crews for their work during the holiday, as well as the Rock Springs Fire Department and the area’s other emergency service providers.

“This was another fine example of the dedicated first responders that we have in our community,” he said.