Gosper-Furnas County Fire At 30,000 Acres; VFD Chief Killed In Collision With Water Truck


      A wildfire in southern Nebraska has grown to 30,000 acres or about 47 square miles in Gosper and Furnas counties and is still listed as zero-percent contained.

Officials say at least 8 houses and 48 outbuildings have been destroyed.

     Gov Pete Ricketts issued emergency declarations Friday to provide state help. Both the state’s Wildland Incident Response Assistance Team and a 7-member Incident Management Assistance Team are helping coordinate the 40 agencies working the fire.

    Evacuation orders issued for Edison, a village of 130 about 60 miles southeast of Kearney, and the surrounding area after the fire began Thursday have been lifted.

     There are no highway closures, but extreme caution is being urged in the aftermath of the fatal crash Thursday between 2 firefighting vehicles. 

      54-year old Elwood VFD Chief Darren Krull was killed when the emergency SUV he was in collided with a water tanker about 5 pm as smoke cut visibility to zero.

     Chief Krull died at the scene while the SUV driver is hospitalized in stable condition. The truck driver was not injured. State Patrol Supt Colonel John Bolduc says “our hearts are with all involved in the tragic crash as well as those affected by the fire.”       

     There was a moment of silence at the Nebraska Legislature on Friday for Chief Krull, who was the nephew of State Senator Tom Briese.