21 Firefighters Fight Large Fire in Wapello on Sunday

Sunday afternoon saw a large fire in Wapello that required multiple fire departments to fight. Just after 3:30pm, Wapello Fire and Rescue was called for multiple reports of a fire in the field next to the South End Park that was quickly spreading and heading towards a barn.

A City of Wapello employee advised the crews that the fire had reached the barn. At the time, mutual aid was requested from the Morning Sun Fire Department. Arriving on scene at 3:37pm, crews observed a dire approximately one-quarter mile in length that was rapidly spreading due to extremely high winds from the south. If this wasn’t bad enough, the smoke caused zero visibility conditions for the firefighters.

The fire spread across 123rd Avenue, but firefighters were able to extinguish it before it spread any further. Crews extinguished the remaining fire and doused the area around the barn with additional water as a precautionary measure before returning to base. Amazingly, the barn was able to be saved.

Thirteen Wapello firefighters responded to this incident and were assisted by eight Morning Sun firefighters. Also assisting on scene was the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office. Crews remained on scene until 5:27 PM. There were no injuries. The cause of the fire is under investigation, but it originated in the City of Wapello yard waste collection site.

As a reminder to those using the yard waste site, please follow the rules posted on the signage. Do not deposit anything other than yard waste meeting the criteria on the sign. Do not deposit waste that has been burned such as waste from a recreational fire pit. Do not set fire to any debris and please don’t smoke while using the site.

Conditions are extremely dry and unless we receive significant rainfall, the windy and unseasonably warm temperatures will continue to create conditions that are favorable for wildfires. Please do what you can to minimize this risk. While most people refrain from burning debris during these conditions, few people probably think about discarded cigarettes, hot vehicle exhaust, a chain dragging on a trailer or even a spark from your barbecue grill starting a fire.