Chadron –The Region 23 Fire Complex, Sierra Task Force was preparing to wrap up their Sunday work near Highway 385 and Table Road when they received a smoke report east of the Pine Ridge Job Corps – only a few miles away. The Sierra Division Group Supervisor, John Thornburg directed all immediate resources for initial attack on what is now known as the Ridge Fire.
According to Thornburg, “The fire was already 3-5 acres, was burning timber and grass, and had ‘very high growth potential.’ The Job Corps structures were threatened.”
Within a short period of time, the Chadron Volunteer Fire Department, the local Nebraska National Forests & Grasslands and additional severity units, and several resources from the Region 23 Fire Complex joined Thornburg’s Task Force, were on-scene and able to hold the start-up to 6.8 acres. Two Region 23 engines remained on scene for night patrol, and resources will mop up and achieve 100% containment today.
Terry McShane, Type III Incident Commander said that more than 100 fire fighters responded immediately to the fire, spurred by extreme weather, two consecutive days of Red Flag Warnings, and the Region 23 Fire Complex fresh in everyone’s mind. “Only a week ago we fought hard to keep the fire from getting to the east side of Highway 385, and that’s where the Ridge Fire started. It had potential for large fire growth with significant fuels. We are fortunate to have had the resources to catch this, because it had all the potential to be another West Ash 50,000 acre or more burn.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation.