Crews scramble to put out brush fires in Washington County, Mo.

Missouri

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Mo. – Firefighters in Washington County, Missouri were exhausted after fighting three major wildland fires in the last 24 hours.

The biggest one burned Thursday.

Firefighters from as far away as Brentwood and Ladue came to help Potosi firefighters. The weather made the battle so much tougher.

Missouri Department of Conservation employees worked into the night putting out hotspots. They brought in bulldozers to push away brush and bring down trees filled with burning embers.

“With the winds like we had today, the embers can easily get across the road and start the fire on the other side, so we needed to get those embers out of the sky and on the ground,” said Mark Johanson, district supervisor for the department of conservation.

Johanson and his crew worked on a 200-acre blaze in the Pea Ridge Conservation area. It broke out around 9:30 a.m. Thursday and burned into the evening. Earlier in the day, about 100 hundred firefighters were at war with the flames.

The fire raced across the ground pushed by high winds.

“You can’t outrun fire,” Potosi Fire Protection District Lt. Robert Lang said. “The flames were above five to seven foot at times.”

The other big problem – low humidity.

“The lower that number is, the hotter and faster it can burn because there’s no moisture in the air to help stop it,” Potosi Fire Protection District Lt. Dustin Crocker said.

They are grateful to an estimated 30 fire departments that traveled many miles to join the fight. No one was injured, some hunting cabins were lost to another fire overnight. About 20 people were evacuated Thursday but back in their homes by nightfall.

Veteran firefighters say this is among the worst they’ve ever seen.

“It was jumping over the highway, it was jumping over roads, anything we put in front of it would jump over it,” Lt. Lang said.

Firefighters in Potosi are all volunteers. The cause of the fire has not been determined.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.

Popular

Latest News

More News