Containment Begins on Banner County Fire

RELEASE DATE: Sep 15, 2022

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Banner County, Neb.  —  Incident Commander Tim Grubbs, fire chief for the Banner County Volunteer Fire Department, said crews are making progress on monitoring, maintaining and containing the fire within its current footprint.

“We are estimating containment of the fire at 28% and will work to increase that line of black around the perimeter today,” Grubbs said. “We are hopeful we will be able to release some of the air assets this afternoon if all goes well.”

Grubbs was especially grateful there have been no reported injuries, accidents or homes destroyed by the fire. He reported the fire laid down overnight, with crews patrolling and monitoring conditions around the perimeter. Today, thanks to those efforts, daytime crews are beginning mop-up efforts in select areas where fire lines are strongest. 

Nebraska Emergency Management Agency Assistant Director Erv Portis said “The Nebraska Incident Management Assistance Team arrived on scene Wednesday to work in coordination with local volunteer fire departments. The efforts of the firefighters and air crews has definitely helped to gain containment of this fire. These partnerships between local and state responders help protect and keep Nebraskans safe.”

Air support: The four single engine air tankers and three UH-60 Blackhawks (two from Nebraska National Guard and one from Spearfish, S.D.) continue to provide fire suppression.

Requested support: No additional support was requested today.

State deployments: The Wildland Incident Response Assistance Team (WIRAT), which is made up of Nebraska State Fire Marshal and Nebraska Forest Service staff, deployed on Tuesday, and Nebraska Type 3 Incident Management Assistance Team was in route on Wednesday afternoon.

Firefighter Support: Firefighter ministries and 11.13 Ministries are providing food and drinks for firefighters and other responders.

Weather: The spot forecast for the area reports a chance of showers/thunderstorms for the early part of the evening. Wind gusts are possible.

Monday’s firefighting operations were hindered by a weather inversion. Inversion is when a layer of cold air gets in between hot air and the cap prevents hot air from rising away from the fire. While the inversion does hold the fire down and slow its movement, the cold air layer also traps smoke and makes for poor visibility. Due to the inversion, air assets were not able to operate until about 2 p.m. There is a concern another inversion could develop tonight into tomorrow.

Objectives: The five divisions used during the day were condensed to three divisions overnight with a primary objective of patrolling/monitoring, maintaining and containing the fire within its current footprint as best as possible. The divisions have the following objectives.

  • Keep fire South of County Line

  • Keep fire East of Wrights Gap

  • Keep fire West of Road 63

  • Keep fire North of Road 61

Nebraska Department of Agriculture: For information on resources available to farmers and ranchers affected by Nebraska wildfires, visit the Nebraska Department of Agriculture’s (NDA) website at or contact NDA’s Emergency Response Coordinator, Michael Gibson, at


Smokey Fire Statistics:

Size:  3,738 acres

Containment: 28 %

Total Personnel:

Location: Banner County

     41° 38.688' Lat; 41° 38.688' Long.

     15.67 miles southeast of Gering Fire Station

Reported: Sept. 13, 2022

Injuries to Date: None

Homes destroyed: none

For More Information on the Smokey Fire:

Fire Information Phone

     (402) 326-3179 (Jodie Fawl at Joint Information Center) or

     (402) 540-6552 (Mike Wight on scene)

Banner County Volunteer Fire Department Facebook:

Nebraska Emergency Management Agency Facebook

NEMA Twitter: