The answer to what many in Rawlins and the surrounding Carbon County area Saturday afternoon were asking — what’s burning over there? — is the Rawlins Landfill.
As of Saturday evening, a “fire of significant size” continues to burn after prompting the landfill to close early, the city reports.
The fire broke out in the landfill’s construction and demolition area at about 1 p.m., and because of the large amount of potential fuel, a decision was made to close the entire landfill for the rest of the day.
“The fire was in the unburied portion of the construction and demolition materials, which generally includes items such as brick, cabinets, concrete, metal, wood and siding,” Rawlins city spokeswoman Mira Miller told Cowboy State Daily. “This was a fire of significant size.”
People in Rawlins reported seeing smoke from the fire for miles around, but Miller said the blaze hasn’t spread past the area of the landfill designated for construction waste, which is about a mile outside city limits at 3001 Gun Club Road.
By 5:15, “the fire had been totally isolated and contained,” she said, adding that it “continues to burn and be monitored due to the amount of material in the area.”
Nobody was hurt, and what caused the fire isn’t known, but fire crews will continue to monitor the area in case it flares up.
“Our landfill staff responded perfectly, and all of the firefighters worked quickly and bravely to safely contain this incident,” said City Manager Tom Sarvey. “We are grateful to our staff for all the assistance from the county and the town of Sinclair.”
While an inconvenience for some wanting to use the landfill Saturday afternoon, the city anticipates it will reopen as usual on Monday, Miller said. The landfill is typically closed Sundays.
Whether the construction and demolition area of the landfill also will open as scheduled Monday remains to be determined.
The Rawlins Fire Department was helped by the Carbon County and Sinclair fire departments.