Critical fire weather continues across Nebraska


Img. provided by North Platte KNOP-CD

10/11 NOW, Writer Group

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – Most of Nebraska is under the Red Flag Warnings for extreme fire danger through Thursday, the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency said.

McCann Fire in Cherry County

According to NEMA, the McCann Fire has burned 7,040 acres and is 60 percent contained. No injuries have been reported.

The current focus of the wildfire remains on the string of canyons along the Niobrara River and the grassland where fire originally began remains under control, NEMA said. Firefighters are patrolling the area for hotspots.

According to state liaison Chris Schroeder who is on scene, the fire laid down more than expected overnight and the Nebraska National Guard CH-47 and UH-60 helicopters were effectively dropping water Wednesday and will continue working Thursday. The National Guard helicopters have dropped more than 19,000 gallons of water on the fire.

NEMA said additional incident management assistance team members are reporting to the fire today to assist local emergency management staff.

Governor Jim Pillen authorized the state to bring on the single engine air tanker (SEAT) in April, instead of July, to assist in dropping retardant on the fire.

Rock Creek Fire in Jefferson County

According to NEMA, the Rock Creek Fire has burned 2,600 acres, damaged one home, and is 65 percent contained. No injuries have been reported.

NEMA said 80 firefighters are on scene and the Nebraska National Guard UH-60 will continue bucket drops over the western section of the fire where most of the fire activity continues. A dozer and crews are also digging lines around the perimeter. The other sections are in mop-up.

On Wednesday, the Blackhawk made dropped 12,600 gallons of water over the fire.

NEMA wants to remind the public that while the fire is 65 percent contained, containment does not mean the same thing as extinguished. Containment is the barrier around the fire’s footprint to prevent spread and fire may be burning inside the perimeter.

Wildland Incident Response Assistance Team member James Sloup of the State Fire Marshal Agency said, “The fire is staying in the footprint and overall we are in pretty good shape.”

NEMA said crews are no longer in need of donations but if anyone is still interested in contributing, they can contribute financially to the many volunteer fire departments responding to fires across the state.

Lowry Fire in Garfield County

According to NEMA, the Lowry Fire has burned 6,000 acres and is 100 percent contained. Two injuries were reported.

Currently, the fire is in mop-up.