Around 9 fire departments responded to a Platte County wildfire. Platte County Emergency Manager Tim Hofbauer says it was reported as a ditch fire around 4:30pm Thursday afternoon near the Highways 81 and 91 junction north of Humphrey. Flames jumped across Highway 91 and continued southeast for an estimated 4 miles. It’s width believed to be about a 1/4 to 1/2 mile. Hofbauer says it reportedly destroyed a barn and outbuilding, too.
On the Humphrey Fired Department Facebook page they thanked everyone that helped including 30+ farmers with discs and those who provided food, water and other support. Communities providing mutual aid included Creston, Lindsay, Newman Grove, Madison, Platte Center, Clarkson, Leigh, Howells, Columbus Rural and Paid, and Schuyler.
Hofbauer described the high winds, water and onlookers as challenges in fighting the fire. He said a lot of departments responded with tanker trucks but getting water to burning shelter belts and hay bales was an issue.
Hofbauer said onlookers driving on gravel roads caused the fire truck operators to keep an eye on them and impeded them in getting into areas to fight the fire. Drivers must also watch out for onlookers who might pull out in front of them or slow them down. There were also problems with onlookers congesting staging areas where trucks were filling up with water.
The fire caused the Highway 81 and 91 junction along with Highway 81 to be closed for a period of time. Hofbauer did not know what caused the fire to start but noted that it’s “extremely dry” and urges people to “be careful” in their activities. Firefighters were starting to do “mop-up” of the fire around 9:00pm Thursday.
Source: Nebraska Regional News