Infrared laser action is observed to occur in vapors of K, Rb, and Cs photoexcited by various giant pulse laser beams. The mechanism of excitation involves two-photon absorption by the molecular species followed by dissociation into various excited atomic states. In the case of cesium, anomalously long infrared laser pulses are obtained when helium buffer gas is present. A collisional mechanism is invoked to explain this phenomenon. Self-focusing of a ruby laser beam is also observed to occur in cesium-helium vapor under certain conditions.