Firefighters made good progress Friday against the Vista Trend Fire, burning since Thursday afternoon in the Robidoux Pass area of the Wildcat Hills, while more precise mapping dropped its estimated size.
Incident Commander Nathan Flowers said in an 8:00 PM update that the Vista Trend Fire is now listed at 2,700 acres, down from the 3,600 acre estimate at 10:00 AM, with 80% containment.
Flowers, who is working under a Unified Command with several agencies monitoring the blaze, says firefighters used direct and indirect tactics Friday afternoon to secure the edge and halt its forward progress. He adds that the perimeter still contains heat.
One Nebraska National Guard Blackhawk helicopter with a 600 gallon bucket joined the effort on Friday and another is scheduled to arrive on Saturday. Flowers says aerial suppression will be used to cool areas in rough terrain that are close to the fire’s edge.
Road closures remain in effect in the fire area, but residents of a dozen homes evacuated Thursday were allowed to return home Friday night with authorities apologizing for any inconvenience the evacuation may have caused.
Flowers says the Vista Trend Fire has impacted energy infrastructure by damaging several electrical distribution structures and continues to pose a risk to cultural assets and agricultural infrastructure.
Crews will continue to work Saturday to improve fire lines along the East and Northeast perimeter with the public reminded to stay clear of the fire area for both their own safety and that of firefighters – in part because roads in the area have become very unstable.