About 300 acres burned in Council Bluffs brush fire; ‘It’s still smoldering today’

An estimated 300 acres of brush and trees burned Sunday near the Missouri River, a Council Bluffs fire official said Monday.

The fire started south of the Western Trails Museum at 3434 Richard Downing Ave. It stretched more than 2 miles to the Veterans Memorial Bridge, said Alex Ford, acting fire marshal for the Council Bluffs Fire Department.

The area burned included an all-terrain vehicle park managed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

No structures were in harm’s way, but the fire fed off of dead trees, debris and grass in the sandy area between the river and the levee. A back burn, started by Pottawattamie County Conservation, pushed north from the bridge and helped halt the spread of the fire, Ford said.

“It’s still smoldering today,” he said Monday. “There was a lot of dead brush logs in there, but the DNR is keeping an eye on it.”

Because of the lingering smoke from the Bluffs fire, the Douglas County Health Department issued a notice Monday that parts of South Omaha may experience air-quality issues in the category of “unhealthy for sensitive groups.”

That means people with heart and lung disease, older adults and children are at greater risk from the presence of particles in the air.