The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency has received initial information on fires in three Nebraska counties — Cherry, Holt and Filmore. Dry conditions and high winds are contributing factors in the fires. No injuries have been reported.
The largest fire was located in Cherry County. That fire that originated in South Dakota has burned a path of approximately 15 miles in length and five-mile wide path.
The fire burned 3,000 acres in South Dakota before entering Nebraska north of Kilgore. At last report 25 mutual aid fire departments are fighting the fire near the small town of Crookston, which had been evacuated.
The Cherry County fire that was reported to NEMA before 3 p.m. Sustaining winds of 33 miles per hour with gusts of up to 60 miles per hour were reported. Highway 20 is closed west of Valentine and the latest report was that the fire was eight miles west of Valentine moving southeast.
The head of the fire is out, Fawl said at 7 p.m., but there was more work to do before it would be fully contained.
An abandoned structure near Crookston was reportedly burned.
The cause is unknown, possibly lightning or a spark from harvest equipment. High winds and dry conditions have heightened the danger from wild fires across the state. There are several other reports of fires across the state, Fawl said.
“Due to the high wind conditions and low humidity with the red flag warnings, I would recommend waiting to harvest crops and put up hay until the wind dies down,” said Regional Emergency Manager Doug Fox of NEMA. “I realize there is a need to get crops harvested and the haying done, but it can lead to additional fires."
Fox said the state's firefighting resources are "really stretched thin during these large fires and we would your appreciate assistance.”