Update: Plea From Firefighters As Fires Continue


The state was nearly covered in red flag warnings Monday as firefighters urged Nebraskans to heed them.

Departments from Grand Island, G.I. Rural, Wood River and St. Libory were some of the crews called out.

G.I.R.F. continues to monitor a fire north of Grand Island near Airport Road and the Nebraska Central Railroad line.

Grass fires like this have become a familiar scene, often caused lately by a flick of a cigarette or a rekindled burn.

"We hope nobody will even burn in a permitted barrel at this point and time. Just simply don't burn, period," said G.I. Rural Fire Chief Chuck Hoffman.

Fire officials believe the flames just north of G.I. Monday had rekindled from a fire three days earlier.

It destroyed trees, four acres of grass and a large pile of railroad ties, threatening nearby buildings and a high voltage power line.

With high winds and dry conditions, firefighters are pleading with the public.

"The only thing that will help it as far as future events like this is that the general public becomes aware of the conditions that we have and fires start much more easily now than they would normally," said Hoffman.

Officials said the traffic jam of on-lookers G.I.R.F. and St. Libory firefighters had to get through before their job could begin was also abnormal.

"The intersections from Capital [Avenue] back on Sky Park Road were backed up a mile from people circling around. We had people saying it looked like the interstate out here for a little bit until we got them cleared away," said Hall County Sheriff Sgt. Quinn Webb.

Officials blame the thick black smoke and proximity to Grand Island for the curiosity, which they say could be dangerous.

"If they don't have any real reason to be there, please stay away because it really makes it difficult for us to get to the scene," said Hoffman.

Dispatchers are also asking people not to call 911 for information about a fire.

That's been happening in Hall County. Officials said it ties up a line that should only be used for emergencies.