BEVERLY, Mo. — More than 75 firefighters from 13 different agencies battled a brush fire that consumed more than 1,500 acres in western Platte County on Thursday, Feb. 18.
The call came in around 10:30 a.m. when a crew with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, using a brush mower, reported a fire after their equipment seized up and sparked the fire. The fire quickly spread fanned by wind gust sof more than 40 mile per hour from the south.
Starting just north of Highway 92 near the Centennial Bridge across the Missouri River, the fire worked its way northeast and consumed numerous vacant buildings before also threatening Weston Bend State Park and all of Weston, Mo.
“It was going pretty fast,” South Platte Fire Protection District deputy chief Dean Cull said. “You couldn’t keep a fireman on the ground walking fast enough to put it out.”
The fire closed Highway 92 between Beverly, Mo. and 45 Spur approaching the state line for about eight hours, while crews worked to put out the blaze.
In the early afternoon, the winds shifted and pushed the fire along the banks of the Missouri River toward Weston Bend State Park. Crews concentrated their efforts on preventing the fire from crossing Bee Creek and into the wooded area.
“Where we have the issue is right along the river,” Cull said. “There’s still a lot of woods between the plowed fields and the Missouri River bank itself. If it gets in there, it could travel all the way to Weston. That’s what we’re doing now is hit all those spots in the thick brush and timber to try and keep it from going.”
The fire came under control about 6 p.m., and crews worked on hotspots for the remainder of the evening.
There were no injuries reported to firefighters. Most of the fire was contained to land owned by the Bureau of Prisons, which previously operated a prison farm on the property in conjunction with the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan.
The only damage to structures reported was the vacant prison farm buildings.
About 200 acres of privately owned farmland burned before departments were able to stop the advance and reopen the roads about 6 p.m. Firefighters on the scene fighting the fire hailed from the Central Platte Fire Protection District, Southern Platte Fire Protection District, the Kansas City (Mo.) Fire Department and all of the rural fire protection districts in Platte County.