Update: New Information on Niobrara River Canyon Fire


New information has come in Monday on the Fire burning in North Central Nebraska.

"Coordination and good communications will be the key to a successful day," said Incident Commander Mark Hatcher this morning at briefing.

The Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team B arrived to assist state and local firefighters in three counties to suppress the Fairfield Creek fire, also called the Niobrara Canyon Fire. Approximately 50,000 acres were mapped by infrared flight as of 6 a.m., though reports have come in of over 90,000 acres burned.

Active burning has been observed on the east and west flanks of the fire. Crews were able to burn out pockets of fuel on the north east corner to reinforce dozer lines. Firefighters will work on lines in all areas of the fire in anticipation of the dry, hot, windy weather expected today.

The weather outlook for Monday shows hotter weather with dry winds gusting up to 25 miles per hour near the fire area. A heat advisory is in effect until 9 p.m. on Tuesday and a Red Flag Warning is in effect for winds and low relative humidity.

These hot and dry weather conditions work against fire crew working to fight the blaze.

The blaze, which started on Friday, was caused by lightning and three fire crews and 30 engines have been ordered to fight the flames. No containment is reported at this time. So far the fire has destroyed 10 buildings and injured three. 70 structures are currently threatened by the flames.

Four Divisions have been established for managing the fire:

  • Division C (northwest): Springview Fire District, Keya Paha County
  • Division E (northeast): Springview Fire District, Keya Paha County
  • Division H (southeast): Ainsworth Fire District, Brown County
  • Division A (southwest) Cherry County Fire District

Aircraft will be available for additional support as needed.

Road blocks will be in place on Highway 12 due to the fire and motorists are asked to find alternate travel routes. Volunteer evacuations are still in place for Meadville and the Niobrara River is closed for recreational use between County Line and Brewer bridges.