State Disaster Declaration Issued For 2,500 Acre Banner County Fire


Photo Carissa Schank/ Firefighter Ministry

     Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has issued a state emergency declaration for the Hackberry Fire, which as of midday Friday had burned an estimated 2,500 acres in the southwest Panhandle.

There have been no injuries and no houses are currently in danger. 

     Region 22 Emergency Management Agency Director Tim Newman says the fire was reported around 7:00 Thursday night in Banner County, southeast of Harrisburg with multiple state and local agencies responding. 

      The emergency declaration, which was requested Friday morning by NEMA, the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, opens the way for additional resources.

      A Nebraska State Emergency Response Team and a Type 3 Incident Management Team will now support response activities and a pair of Nebraska Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopters with 780-gallon water buckets have arrived on the scene.

     They join Nebraska’s SEAT, single-engine air tanker, and 2 SEATS from South Dakota while the current Incident Commander has requested a large air tanker out of Colorado under a multi-state compact.

      The Wildland Incident Response Assistance Team (WIRAT) has been requested to provide expert knowledge and assistance to local first responders. 

       Two Strike teams from the North and Southwest regions have been called in to provide support with a third Strike team from Northeast Colorado put on standby. 

      Fire weather is expected to remain elevated as dry conditions continue into the weekend.