The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has received initial information on fires in three Nebraska counties — Cherry, Holt and Fillmore. Dry conditions and high winds are contributing factors in the fires. No injuries have been reported.
The largest fire was located in Cherry County. That fire that originated in South Dakota has burned a path of approximately 15 miles in length and five-mile wide path. The fire burned 3,000 acres in South Dakota before entering Nebraska north of Kilgore. At last report 25 mutual aid fire departments are fighting the fire near Crookston which had been evacuated.
The fire that was reported to NEMA before 3 p.m. Sustaining winds of 33 miles per hour with gusts of up to 60 miles per hour are being reported. Highway 20 is closed west of Valentine and the latest report was that the fire was eight miles west of Valentine moving southeast.
An abandoned structure near Crookston was reported to have burned.
The State Fire Marshal’s Wildland Incident and Response and Assistance Team (WIRAT) is on standby. NEMA staff is working with the Region 24 Emergency Manager Doug Fox to monitor the situation and assess needs.
High winds and dry conditions have heightened the threat from wild fires across the State. NEMA staff continues to monitor statewide conditions with unconfirmed reports of other fires across the State.
“Due to the high wind conditions and low humidity with the red flag warnings, I would recommend waiting to harvest crops and put up hay until the wind dies down,” said Fox. “I realize there is a need to get crops harvested and the haying done, but it can lead to additional fires. Our firefighting resources are really stretched thin during these large fires and we would your appreciate assistance.”