Weekend Fires Rage Across NE; Biggest Now At 50,000 Acres


      The Road 702 Fire in southwest Nebraska is now estimated at 50,000-acres with some 100 personnel in action. A more accurate estimate based on mapping flights Sunday afternoon is expected shortly.

      NEMA, the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, says The Rocky Mountain Complex Incident Management Team One assumed command yesterday morning at 7:00 with Dan Dallas the Incident Commander.

     The Road 702 Fire claimed one life Friday night. 66-year old retired Cambridge fire chief John Trumble of Arapahoe was serving as a spotter in Red Willow County when his vehicle left the road and he was overcome by smoke and fire.

    NEMA says fires have been reported in 12 counties around the state since Friday with 11 firefighters injured.

      The Elsie Complex, 4 fires on ag land in Perkins and Dundy counties, totaled nearly 5,000 acres with 4 firefighters suffering non-life-threatening injuries.  

      The Burt County Fire started near Lyons and forced the evacuation of Macy.   A shelter was set up at the Walthill School, but was open for only a few hours according to KCSR/KBPY’s Jeremy Anderson, whose parents set up the shelter.

    The fire destroyed several structures, including at least 2 rural homes. One fire truck was also lost with 4 firefighters injured, including one who was hospitalized.

         A Scotts Bluff County fire destroyed one non-residential structure and 8 power poles while 3 fires between Sunol and Lodgepole forced some rural residents to evacuate and caused power and communications losses.

    The Purdum Complex of 5 fires in Blaine, Cherry, Brown, and Thomas counties drew crews from 20 VFDs and the state Response Assistance Team. There were no injuries to firefighters, but 2 or 3 trucks were damaged. 

       A fire in Rising City ignited by sparks from a front-end loader bucket on a concrete pad next to a hay facility killed about 100 calves and hospitalized 2 firefighters for smoke inhalation. Other firefighters were treated for eye irritation.