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Massive grass fire temporarily shuts down northbound lanes of Highway 75

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SIOUX CITY | Several fire departments battled a massive grass fire along the northbound lanes of U.S. Highway 75 near the Correctionville Road overpass on the east side of the city on Saturday. 

The fire was first reported around 3:30 p.m. and spread northeast of the highway due to strong winds that persisted throughout the afternoon. 

Several fire departments assisted the Sioux City Fire Rescue vehicles, including Moville, Lawton, Sergeant Bluff and the 185th Air Refueling Wing of the Iowa Air National Guard.

Northbound lanes on the highway were closed to all non-emergency traffic at the Gordon Drive bypass to protect the firefighters and because there were visibility problems with smoke over the highway

Sioux City police Lt. Rex Mueller said traffic was rerouted westbound on Gordon Drive and directed to Lewis Boulevard. However, he said about a dozen or so cars went around the police block at the entrance ramp onto Highway 75 north at Gordon Drive.

No citations were issue because there weren’t enough police personnel at the time, said Mueller. Later the Iowa Department of Transportation assisted and no more vehicles were able to enter the highway.

“We just did did traffic control,” Mueller said. “The fire department had the hard job.”

The northbound lanes of Highway 75 reopened around 6:50, said Mueller.

Locals residents gathered on the Correctionville Road bypass to watch as firefighters battled the fire which spread to other areas farther from the highway.  

Bob Foulk, who lives close to where the fire was burning off of Correctionville Road, said he wasn't worried the fire would hit his house. 

"Not with the way wind was blowing," Foulk said, indicating it was blowing away from his residence.

He said the fire department quickly kept the fire from spreading to nearby houses.

"These guys are earning their money today," Foulk said.

Fire department personnel weren't available Saturday evening to provide further details about the fire.


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Tim Masters, a technician with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, said wind gusts across the Weather Service's coverage area were in the 70 to 100 mile-per-hour range. He said the peak wind gust at Sioux Gateway Airport was 52 miles per hour. 

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