July 31st, 2022 | News Release / KNEB News Staff
Drought-stricken timber and grasslands combined with difficult terrain and breezy conditions led to significant growth of the Carter Canyon Fire from Saturday into Sunday, along with the loss or damage to several homes.
Recapping the blaze, fire officials say the Carter Canyon Fire was reported on July 30th approximately 6:30 pm. Firefighters on scene reported two separate fires. Both were in heavy timber within the Cedar Canyon Wildlife Management Area and Carter Canyon Public Land. Firefighters engaged the fire but heavy timber, rough terrain and wind driven fire runs hampered efforts. Within three hours both fires substantially increased in acreage.
“Due to drought-stricken fuels and 20 mile per hour winds, both fires merged and continued to make fast moving runs to the north. Fire managers recognized the need for structure protection and began establishing protection along Cedar Canyon Road. The fire made a significant run through the Cedar Canyon estates and impacted several homes. Firefighters were able to provide structure protection and limit the impact. Law enforcement and fire managers are performing damage assessment. During the fast-moving fire, three (3) primary residences were destroyed and seven (7) were damaged.
“A Multi-Mission Aircraft (MMA) flight was ordered and flown over the fire approximately 1:00 pm on July 31st. The fire is currently at 13,051 acres and 30% contained. Firefighters are working in heavy timber and rough terrain establishing control lines where firefighters can be successful.”
Fire managers utilized aerial assets to limit fire spread to the east. Gering Fire Chief Nathan Flowers tells KNEB News that in addition to the Single Engine Air Tanker which has been based at WNRA this fire season, three Large Air Tankers out of Colorado and a Very Large Air Tanker based in Montana were used in the Sunday attack on the fire lines. A helicopter with water drop bucket is among the State assets anticipated to be available Monday.
Authorities continued that “over 35 fire local volunteer fire departments with 22 engines are assisting with battling this blaze. County, State and federal resources have also been assisting. Currently a Type 2 hand crew and the heavy air tankers are creating fire breaks along the east and south lines.
“It is truly unfortunate to see destructive damage and residents being heavily affected. We are praying for our affected citizens and ask to contact Firefighter Ministry and the American Red Cross. We are currently evaluating options for assistance for affected residence.
“Due to the overwhelming support of the community, donations of food, snacks and water are no longer needed. If you still have items to donate, please contact your local fire department or Firefighter Ministry.
“Please use caution when traveling through the Gering Valley area. Fire trucks are using roads along Carter Canyon and Summit Ranch Road. Closures are in effect and only residents are able to access certain areas. Please help keep our firefighters safe by staying out of the area.”
Roosevelt Public Power District tells KNEB News that they have restored power to all customers that they can as of about 2p p.m., leaving dozens of customers without power. RPPD says they have sustained substantial damage to poles and powerlines in the area, and will restore power to customers when it is safe to do so, and as fire officials allow.
Assistance is available for those who have been impacted by the fire or who are displaced from their home, who can contact the American Red Cross at 1-833-583-3111.
Source: Nebraska Regional News