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      Nebraska Joins Fire Compact, NEMA Assistant Director Named as Administrator

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      Gov. Dave Heineman has signed a bill that will have Nebraska join forces with Colorado, Wyoming and the Dakotas in fighting wildfires.

      Heineman announced Friday that Al Berndt, assistant director of the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, will represent Nebraska in the Great Plains Interstate Fire Compact after signing the bill into law earlier this week.

      The compact lets member states share their firefighters and equipment in an emergency without going through the federal government. As part of the compact, each state is required to choose someone to be responsible for forest fire control.

      "Al Berndt will do an outstandingjob representing Nebraska in this compact," said Heineman. "He has servedour state for many years as the Assistant Director of the Nebraska EmergencyManagement Agency which makes him uniquely qualified to represent ourstate."

      The bill's sponsor, Sen. Al Davis of Hyannis, says pooling the states' resources could lead to faster response times in remote and hard-to-reach areas of Nebraska.

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