Locals and State respond to Lake Waconda Fire

RELEASE DATE: Apr 09, 2023

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Union, Nebraska —More than 75 firefighters from 26 departments continue to work the Waconda Fire located just south of Lake Waconda in Cass County which has burned more than 650 acres. The fire started in Iowa on Saturday and jumped across the Missouri River into Nebraska at approximately 6 p.m.

Cass County declared a disaster Sunday and requested state assistance to help with response to the brush fire. Gov. Jim Pillen approved a state disaster which allows funds from the Governor’s Emergency Fund to be used to assist in the response. Cass County Emergency Management and Incident Command requested that the Nebraska Incident Management Assistance Team integrate with local responders to help with the response. The Nebraska National Guard sent a hand crew to work on the ground and a UH60 helicopter to drop water on the fire Sunday afternoon, the Nebraska State Patrol’s drone team arrived Sunday morning to provide aerial footage of the fire and members of the Wildland Incident Response Assistant Team arrived Saturday and Sunday to provide technical support on control and management of the fire.

According to Incident Commander Shane Adams of the Nehawka Volunteer Department fire command, the fire rapidly spread south to the area of East Union Road. Requests for all available units were immediately called as the fire was rapidly moving.

Adams reported that fire departments from across Cass County responded and assisted in fighting the fire. Additional units from across the entire State of Nebraska brought UTVs with water supply to reach the areas where full-size fire

“The terrain of this fire is treacherous,” Adams said. “Relief from local fire departments arrived late into the night and continued to fight fire all through the night. No structures have been affected at this time.”

Adams estimated the fire is 0% contained. He reports that firefighters will remain on scene overnight to monitor and control the fire.