As afternoon temperatures reached 100 degrees Monday, volunteer firefighters from western Nebraska, Wyoming and South Dakota continued to battle a wildfire near Gering.
About 200 firefighters are working in shifts to contain the blaze at the Carter Canyon Wildlife Management Area, which started Saturday night following lightning strikes. According to Nebraska Forest Service spokesman Ben Bohall, the fire remained 30% contained and had burned 15,591 acres as of Monday evening.
Seven houses were damaged and three were destroyed, according to Bohall. Power lines and other energy infrastructure also suffered damage, leaving some area residents without power.
Despite no change in the containment percentage from Sunday to Monday, Bohall said Monday was a productive day for firefighters. Most of the spread happened overnight, he said.
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“Today was a very productive day for us,” Bohall said. “We are cautiously optimistic.”
Monday brought warm weather to the region with a high of 101 degrees. Temperatures in the 90s and 100s are expected to continue through Friday. Although the intense heat presents challenges for firefighters, the number of personnel on site allows incident managers to regularly replace fire crews.
“We are very lucky to have so many firefighters from all over Nebraska, Wyoming and South Dakota,” he said. “With this, we are able to switch shifts quite regularly and ensure the firefighters get the rest they need.”
Local firefighters received state and federal resources to help fight the blaze, according to Bohall. A Nebraska National Guard Blackhawk helicopter crew joined firefighting operations on Sunday, and U.S. Forest Service air tankers also assisted in aerial operations.
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