Wildfire tactic used to slow down fire near Missouri River

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (KMTV) - Firefighters used a method rarely used in this part of the country to get control of a brush fire that burned about 300 acres on Sunday.

"(We were) doing back burns, doing wildland stuff. You don't hear a lot about in the Midwest, but anywhere where they do wildland firefighting, they use fire to combat fire," Council Bluffs Fire Chief Justin James said.

Council Bluffs Fire Department and Pottawattamie County Conservation, were able to use the moderate wind to help themselves. 

They used a back burn to push the fire north from the bridge and made sure nobody got hurt. 

"Sometimes it's best to do a controlled burn and take away the fuel so we don't have that wildland, urban-interface fire," James said.

And that fire sure did have fuel. After the 2011 flood, hundreds of trees fell down and as time wore on, those dead trees with no leaves, gave other plant species plenty of room to grow. 

"Allowed a lot more invasive species and a lot more grasses and vegetative, material to grow, particularly Japanese hops. That took over much of the area in here as a result of the flood and that's what was basically fuel for the fire yesterday," said Michelle Reinig, District Supervisor at the Iowa Parks Bureau.

The methods used in slowing down the fire were successful as  no one was injured and no buildings were damaged. 

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