The Vista Trend Fire was declared officially out as of 5 p.m. Monday, that according to an update provided by the Region 22 Emergency Manager to the Scottsbluff County Commissioners.
Tim Newman gave the board the final wrap-up of the nearly 3,000 acre blaze, saying it was just one of several in one of the busiest wildland fire seasons in the Panhandle.
Newman said it was yet another massive firefighting response from throughout the region. “We had a total of 17 fire department on that, and I believe seven of those came from Wyoming. 39 apparatus, an estimated 80 to 100 personnel,” said Newman. “Aerial assets, we had one single engine air tanker, and two UH60 Blackhawk helicopters with 600 gallon buckets each.”
In addition, Newman said there were several dozers or road graders brought in by the Scotts Bluff County Roads Department to help cut fire breaks around the blaze. He noted there were some hot spots in deep canyons or ravines, but because they were located well inside the blackened areas of the fire, they were not considered a threat.
Board Chair Ken Meyer said he really gained an appreciation for the firefighting effort by seeing it in person. “You know, you read about it in the newspaper or you see it on the news, and you see the burned grass and some flames or whatever, until you get in there and you can see what’s really going on, you have a whole different appreciation, which I got on Thursday night (when the blaze started),” said Meyer. “I was in the fire service for over 25 years and we just didn’t fight that many grass fires.”
Other than some damage to power transmission towers, wooden fence posts and a couple of fire engines with a blown tire and a dent or two, Newman said no damage was reported to structures, no injuries among the public or firefighters, and no loss of livestock.
Newman noted there was no lightning in the area when the fire started, and officials believe it probably started with an arcing or downed power line due to high winds.