(Neb.)-Ash Creek Fire Reaches 80% Containment, Steineke Fire Update
(Chadron/Crawford)-Type 3 Incident Commander Trainee Dax Permenter from Boise, Idaho, declared the Ash Creek Fire as 80% contained at this morning’s (Thursday) 5:30 a.m. briefing. Permenter said there are 150 fire crew members working the area, and the plan is to release 48 more today with an additional 20 on standby. He says, “Remaining crews will continue mop-up (efforts) to put the lid on this fire.”
Improved conditions on the Ash Creek Fire allowed officials to redirect firefighting resources to initial attack on new fires. Success of that plan was proven Wednesday afternoon when three helicopters, three engines, two hot shot crews and dozer crews were immediately deployed on initial attack for a major billow of smoke south of Crawford. Now known as the Steineke Fire, a hold-over from lightning earlier in the week, the approximate 400 acre burn exhibits how explosive conditions remain from extended hot, dry weather. Cyd Janssen with the Nebraska National Forests & Grasslands says a hold-over is a condition in which lightning strikes but doesn’t immediately start a fire, and then all of a sudden, something will ignite and begin to spread.
Crawford Volunteer Fire Chief Brian Prosser says he “can’t imagine how many thousands of acres (the Steineke fire) would have burned if the aerial attack had not been almost instantly available to support ground crews.” He says, “In fact, working with all our fire partners, I was able to have two buckets dumped on this fire before the first engine arrived.”
Crews are still actively out fighting the Steineke Fire. A volunteer at the Crawford Fire Hall said she did not have any information on the fire’s status other than she’s been commissioned to help make 150 sandwiches for crews when they come in later.
Dawes County Sheriff Karl Dailey says the fire is isolated enough that most law enforcement officials have been released from assisting at the scene and only firefighters remain. He said he is not aware of any evacuations in effect at this time.
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