Firefighters Make Progress to Hold the Line

“We will coordinate and integrate efforts with local, state and federal resources to be effective as possible,” said Incident Commander Todd Pechota at this morning’s briefing. “The Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team 2B is interagency, comprised of state and local resources, as well as federal. Our role is to assist and coordinate state and local fire management.”
 
Hot dry conditions are expected for another day at the Fairfield Creek, Wentworth fire and Hall fires in north central Nebraska close to the Niobrara River. A total of approximately 65,580 acres have burned.
 
The Fairfield fire is approximately 58,560 acres and straddles the river. The Wentworth fire is 20 miles east of the Fairfield Creek fire and 3 miles north of the river. It is estimated at 2,595 acres.
 
A new fire started yesterday approximately 6 miles east of the current Wentworth fire and 3 miles north of the river.  It has been labeled the Hall Fire and was estimated at 1,425 in size. Both Wentworth and Hall fires are east of Springview, Nebraska.
 
For most of Tuesday hot and dry weather is expected.  A heat advisory is in effect until 9 p.m. on Tuesday and a Red Flag Warning is in effect for winds and low relative humidity. Late afternoon severe weather with high winds is forecast with the potential to affect fire behavior.
 
Work continues on the four divisions of the Fairfield Creek fire:
Division A (southwest) Cherry County Fire District—continue to establish and hold line.
Division C (northwest): Springview Fire District, Keya Paha County--hold line and burn-out where possible to bring defensible line down to river.
Division E (northeast): Springview Fire District, Keya Paha County—anchor line at the river, hold, improve and secure spot that crossed Highway 12.
Division H (southeast): Ainsworth Fire District, Brown County—constructs direct handline towards the southwest.
 
Air Operations
·         Four Helicopters and Two Air Tactical Platforms will continue to assist ground crews in achieving containment goals.
·         Fire retardant drops may be available.
 
Road Closures
Road blocks will be in place on Highway 12.  Motorists are asked to find alternate travel routes.
 
Evacuations:
Volunteer evacuations are still in place for Meadville.
Niobrara River is closed for recreational use between County Line and Brewer bridges.
 
Fire stats at a glance:

Start Date: July 20, 2012
Containment: 15%
Cause: Lightning
Acreage: 65,580 total
Personnel: 239
Crews: 1 on scene, 2 expected
Cooperating Agencies: Brown, Keya Paha and Cherry Counties, State of Nebraska
Aviation : (3) Type (1) National Guard Black Hawks, and 1 Type 2
Engines: 30
Injuries: 3 (minor)
Structures destroyed: 10 and associated outbuildings
Structures/outbuildings threatened: 80

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