Firefighters continue to get good news on Wellnitz Fire

Roads Update: Non-essential traffic is discouraged on roads used during the Wellnitz Fire. Fire operations are winding down, but some fire units are still actively working the fire perimeter.
Sheridan County Road Superintendent Tom Kuester advises that road maintenance is ongoing for the following road segments:

  • 430 Trail Saw Mill- Bridge is out at Dale Hunter’s, 6679 430 Trail. It may be awhile before repairs are made at this location. Essential traffic needs to remain aware that this bridge is out.
  • 450 Lane Beaver to Denton’s / Guard rail repairs.
  • 370 Trail Creek Road to Krontz / Crews are working on road repairs.
  • 440 Lane Extension to Denton’s / Crews are working on road repairs.
  • 440 Lane Metcalf Road / Crews are working on road repairs.
  • 700 Trail Denton Road / Crews are working on road repairs.

Essential traffic is encouraged to use caution with regard to rough roads, road crews, and firefighting personnel working in the area.

Firefighters on the Wellnitz Fire in northwest Sheridan County Nebraska and Southwest Shannon County in South Dakota are continuing to receive good news.    Activities are beginning to slow down and initial demobilization efforts have begun.  The State Fire Marshal Wildland Fire Team, all Volunteer Fire Crews, Nebraska State Patrol, Nebraska National Guard Ground Troops from 1057th, Civil Support Team and Joint Incident Site Communications Capability, as well as Nebraska Department of Roads and County Road Crews have been released from the fire lines.
The two areas near Ogalala in South Dakota, and the southeast quadrant of the fire zone in Sheridan County Nebraska which were identified on Monday as having significant remaining “heat” have been knocked down and crews are continuing to survey the fire line and eliminate other hot spots that may be found.
There are three primary safety hazards that the public should remain alert to.  These include the potential for downed power lines that may still be energized.  Being aware that trees that have burned may be unstable and pose fall hazards, and poor visibility and road conditions in some areas.
Sheridan County Deputy Emergency Manager, Everette Langford spoke with Northwest Rural Electric Association public power company. Their known damages are as follows: 100 poles known damaged/destroyed in Sheridan County--potentially 2x to 3x more than that when they can get in for a thorough assessment.
Sheridan County Sheriff’s Office reports that crews have begun road repairs.  Sheridan County Road Superintendent Kuester reminds all non-essential traffic to avoid these roads until repairs can be made.
Air Operations
14 personnel, One Blackhawk helicopter and two type three helicopters from the Nebraska National Guard  Aviation Division remain on standby.
Road Closures
For up-to-date road closures call or call 511
All state highways are open in the northern panhandle. Watch for fire fighters, smoke and wild fire.
Smoke can rapidly reduce visibility.
There may be intermittent road closures because of the response.
Safety Message
Fire officials request that members of the public stay off county roads to keep them clear for  firefighting efforts.
No evacuation orders are in place at the current time.
Weather Report
Weather conditions for September 4, 2012 remain in the RED FLAG WARNING with temperatures anticipated to reach 90 to 95  and northwest wind gusting up to 30 miles per hour during the afternoon before slowing this evening.
Start Date:
Aug. 29, approximately 5 p.m.
Start Location:
10 miles north of Hays Springs/Rushville
74 percent
77,159 -- An aerial survey Sunday resulted in a more accurate number of acreage affected.       
44,159 in Nebraska,
33,000 in South Dakota
Personnel: 350
Cooperating Agencies in Nebraska: Sheridan County, Region 23 Emergency Management, Sheridan County Sheriff's Department, State of Nebraska, Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, Nebraska National Guard, State Fire Marshal’s Wildland Incident Response Assistance Team, Nebraska State Patrol, Department of Roads and Department of Environmental Quality, Nebraska Forest Service, Farmer’s COOP, Cities of Rushville, Gordon and Hays Springs, 72nd Civil Support Team, Cherry Country Roads, American Red Cross, Oregon Trail Baptist Association, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation,
Crews: 3
Engines: 71 apparatus
Injuries: No new injuries
Structures destroyed: 2 homes, 2 commercial properties destroyed and 24 outbuildings
Volunteer Fire Departments:
Fire Departments that have responded to the fire in Nebraska include -- Ainsworth, Ansley, Atkinson, Axtell, Bassett, Bayard, Burwell, Casper, Cody Rural Fire, Curtis, Dalton, Edison, Elm Creek, Gordon, Hay Springs, Heart of the Hills, Hyannis, Keya Paha Co. RF, Kilgore, Maxwell, Merriman, Minatare, Minden, Morrill, North Platte, O’Neill, Oxford, Paxton , Red Willow Western, Rushville, Sargent, Sidney,  Stuart, Thedford, Valentine, Wallace, Willsonville and Woodlake from Nebraska, and Kyle, Green Valley, Interior, Martin, Batesland, Tuthill, and Olerichs Departments from South Dakota.

Last modified onWednesday, 05 September 2012 15:41

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