Lightning Keeps Local Firefighters Busy

     Chadron and Crawford area firefighters were kept busy Saturday as each of them handled two lightning fires, one of which remains only partially contained.

     Crawford Fire Chief Brian Prosser says the Trout Fire about 5 miles southeast of Crawford is holding at 10-acres in terrain so rugged that even bulldozers couldn’t complete a containment line and trucks and water were unable to reach it.

      The Trout Fire was reported just after noon on Saturday with Crawford, state, and U-S Forest Service crews responding.

Chief Prosser says a hand crew from the Black Hills National Forest that arrived later in the day played a major role limiting the spread, as did multiple airdrops from SEAT planes, single-engine air tankers.

      The area contains a lot of dead downed timber and crews, including one from Kansas that arrived Sunday afternoon, are cutting, stacking, and burning as much of it as possible ahead of the fire. 

      Prosser says the fire will continue burning for several days and with a forecast of hot, dry, windy weather for the next several days, the Trout Fire will continue to be staffed 24 hours a day. 

      Crawford firefighters had more immediate success with their other Saturday blaze, the Rim Fire in rugged terrain on the Ponderosa Wildlife Management Area.

It was reported about 1:20, contained at 1-acre at 10:15 that night, listed as controlled at midnight, and turned over to Nebraska Game and Parks at 8:00 Sunday night.

     Chadron crews responded shortly before noon Saturday to the Goldfish Fire about 11 miles southwest of Chadron off Deadhorse Road. 

    Chief Brandon Martens says a quick response and help by local landowners held the fire to a tenth of an acre. It was contained at 1:05, but wasn’t officially controlled until 8:50 this morning.

     The Dry Creek Fire was reported at 5:27 and listed as contained at 8:00 Sunday morning at a quarter of an acre.

      Chief Martens says neighboring landowners assisted with water and equipment on the Dry Creek Fire with the owner of the property monitoring it overnight. 3 engines responded just as they did on the Goldfish Fire.

       Local, state, and federal resources also responded Saturday afternoon to a fire in Fall River County. The Shirttale Fire burned less than a half-acre 2-½ miles south of Pringle. It was reported at 1:14, contained at 4:17, and controlled at 7:33.