(Neb.)-East Ash Creek Fire Containment Reported At 25%
(Chadron)-Crews from several area fire departments have been assisting the Nebraska National Forest crews with the East Ash Creek Fire, with many of those local departments able to send some crews home overnight Monday to get some much needed rest. Deputy Forest Supervisor Steve Lenzo reports that as of Tuesday morning the fire has burned approximately 300 acres and is 25% contained. The fire was reported Sunday and resulted from a late night lightning storm on Saturday in the Pine Ridge National Recreation Area approximately 20 miles southwest of Chadron.
Lenzo said things looked good Tuesday morning and crews have excellent support from the local departments, including air resources, dozers and crews. He also said there are
two large type 1 helicopters, one medium type 2 helicopter, four hot shot crews of 20 persons each and several dozers on site.
According to Lenzo, Monday’s weather caused some challenging fire behavior. Wind shifts caused the fire to bump the lines hard in a few places, but crews were able to contain spot fires with the help of engines and helicopter bucket drops. He advised that area residents may see additional smoke in the air today as hotshot crews burn out from East Ash Creek Road and other fire lines.
With the arrival of additional resources, some of the VFD engines were released to return to their districts and be available for initial attack. Tristan Fluharty, Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands Fire Management Officer, said the local volunteer firefighters are an incredible resource in the community and the Forest Service values their partnership tremendously.
Lenzo reports that goals for Tuesday are to continue working with local VFDs and the Dawes County Sheriff to assure residents’ safety and to increase containment of the fire. According to Sheriff Karl Dailey, the pre-evacuation notice is still in effect for those living along Bethel Loop Road south to East Ash Creek Road, then along East Ash Creek Road to Table Road, and then along Table Road to Highland Cemetery. Deputies are in the area and will do a quick evacuation notification as needed if fire danger is eminent. Lenzo said even though things look good this morning, conditions could change and people living in those areas need to remain alert.
The entire Nebraska National Forests & Grasslands remains under Stage II Fire Restriction Orders, including no fire, campfire or grills; no smoking, unless in a building, trailer or closed vehicle; no welding or open flames; and no use of internal combustion engines, including chainsaws, generators, or ATVs, without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained and in effective working order. Visitors are also not allowed to possess or use motor vehicles off established roads, motorized trails or established parking areas.
(Story courtesy of the Nebraska National Forest, Chadron, NE)
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