Nebraska Fire Activity
RELEASE DATE: Apr 13, 2023
McCann Fire in Cherry County – 60 percent contained 7,040 Acres No injuries or fatalities
The operational focus of incident command in Cherry County remains on the string of canyons along the Niobrara River. The grassland where fire originally began remains under control and firefighters are patrolling for hotspots.
The fire laid down more than expected overnight according to state liaison Chris Schroeder who is on scene. He reports that the Nebraska National Guard CH-47 and UH-60 helicopters were effectively dropping water Wednesday and will continue working today. Wind at the fire is not gusting as much as yesterday. The National Guard helicopters dropped 25 loads of water (19,000 gallons) on the fire.
Additional incident management assistance team members are reporting to the fire today to assist local emergency management staff with the response.
Gov. Jim Pillen has authorized the state to bring on the single engine air tanker (SEAT) in April rather than the usual start date of July. The SEAT arrived in Valentine on Wednesday, and once it is cleared to fly, may be called to assist in dropping retardant on the fire. Last year the SEAT also began service in April due to the early start of wildland fires in the state.
Rock Creek Fire in Jefferson County – 65 percent contained 2,600 Acres No injuries or fatalities
Most of the activity on the Rock Creek Fire continues in the western section of the fire. All other sections are in mop-up.
A Nebraska National Guard UH-60 will continue bucket drops over the western sections today. On Wednesday, the Blackhawk made 21 drops (12,600 gallons). A dozer and crews are digging lines around the perimeter of the western section.
While the fire is 65 percent contained, an important reminder is that containment does not mean the same thing as extinguished. Containment is the barrier around the fire’s footprint to prevent spread. Fire may be burning inside the perimeter.
Wildland Incident Response Assistance Team member James Sloup of the State Fire Marshal Agency said “The fire is staying in the footprint and overall we are in pretty good shape.”
Eighty firefighters are on scene. One home was damaged in the fire.
Donations are no longer needed, however, anyone still wishing to contribute may contribute financially to the many volunteer fire departments responding to fires across the state.
Lowry Fire in Garfield County – 100 percent contained 6,000 Acres 2 injuries, no fatalities, in mop up
Statewide Outlook – Red Flag Warnings for Critical Fire Weather are still in effect.
Almost the entire state is under Red Flag Warnings for extreme fire danger through today. Rain is forecast for portions of the state and with those storms, there is a potential for new fires from lightning. The predicted higher wind speeds with those storms could lead to the rapid spread of any fires that start.
Continued critical fire weather is expected and the public is encouraged to remain aware for wildfire conditions across the state by visiting: www.nema.nebraska.gov/. A fire dashboard is available at: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/dashboards/831e38de33b541cdb60d71c44e45d6ff.
Photos from Rock Creek Fire in Jefferson County.