Wind Rekindles Slash Pile, Fire in Dead Horse Area Held To 4 Acres


     A slash pile burned perhaps as long as a month ago rekindled Tuesday afternoon and burned 4-acres in the Dead Horse area about 9 miles southwest of Chadron.

Crews were on the scene for about 6 hours.

      Chadron Fire Chief Branden Martens says the fire was reported at 12:18 pm with about 2 dozen of his volunteers responding along with about a half-dozen firefighters from the U-S Forest Service. 

      Chief Martens blames the fire on the strong winds that have dominated the Chadron-area weather for the past few weeks. 

     He says the wind was finally able to reach deep in the ashes from the earlier controlled burn of the slash pile to fan a warm spot enough to reignite unburned fuel in the pile.

     Martens says an ember from that fire blew over to another nearby pile and ignited it, which in turn set a cottonwood tree ablaze. The burning tree in turn released embers that spread the fire more.

      The chief says all together, 3 large cottonwood trees, a medium-sized ash tree, and 3 slash piled were burned.

      The location gave an assist to firefighters – it was crossed by a running creek that provided crews with an endless supply of water.

      Still, Martens says it was a very physically-demanding fire for the crews who had to saw a lot of logs and some trees while pulling the piles apart to get water to the interior.