Firefighters made more progress Tuesday evening and overnight on the Carter Canyon Fire southwest of Gering, which is now listed as 85% contained.
An update Tuesday afternoon at 5:00 from the Nebraska Forest Service listed the fire at 15,630-acres and 50% contained, but Incident Commander Nathan Flowers boosted that to 85% this morning.
Flowers, the Gering fire chief, told firefighters “one more hard day and I think we’ve got it licked. Flowers says crews “are continuing to monitor shifting winds and fluid weather conditions as they work to contain the fire perimeter and patrol the interior for hot spots.”
Chief Flowers says they met Tuesday’s goals of keeping the two pockets of activity in the rugged terrain on the southern lines from moving into Banner County and of limiting growth on the fire’s northwestern side.
Flowers says with the gains made yesterday, the Heavy Air Tankers that played a key role in slowing the spread of the fire in rugged terrain where fire lines couldn’t be established have been released.
Instead, a second Nebraska National Guard Blackhawk helicopter arrived to work with ground crews that began mop-up operations in several areas to strengthen the fire line.
The two choppers and their 9-member crew and support team are making water drops directly on hot spots, mostly inside the fire perimeter in conjunction with hand crews checking ash piles for hot spots, felling burnt trees, and removing potential fuels.
About 10 crews yesterday began preparing to demobilize for possible assignment elsewhere.
Flowers says the gains against the Carter Canyon Fire have allowed repair crews from the Roosevelt Public Power District to start to repair or replace downed poles and lines inside the burn area to restore electricity to residences in those areas.