A large Wildfire is currently burning out of control in The Niobrara Canyon area of North Central Nebraska. According to Region 24 Manager, Doug Fox, firefighters lost containment of the fire burning in the Niobrara Valley Saturday afternoon.
Numerous fire departments from throughout the region are currently battling the blaze which, according to radio station KBRB in Ainsworth, has grown to approximately 100,000 acres. Fox told KBRB that the fire was burning faster than firefighters can establish fire lines. According to Fox, fire departments representing almost one-third of Nebraska were attempting to battle the fire.
Black Hawk helicopters have been called in to help in efforts to battle the blaze and Nebraska Governor, Dave Heineman told KBRB radio that 2 additional Black Hawk helicopters would be brought in Sunday. Governor Heineman has declared a state of emergency and asked the federal government for assistance.
The town of Meadville, has been evacuated along with all residents of the Niobrara Valley from the Norden Bridge east to Highway 183. The evacuees were asked to report to the Ainsworth Community Schools.
According to the Nebraska Red Cross, two teams of Red Cross volunteers from Grand Island and North Platte departed Saturday afternoon to provide meals and hydration to firefighters from 16 departments that were battling the blaze.
Update Sunday morning, July 22, 2012
Click for audio: NIOBRARA VALLEY FIRE
Update: Donations Needed
Sunday, July 22, 2012, Noon:
Ord and North Loup area residents can help with donations for supplies for all of the firefighters including area firefighters fighting the blaze. According to Kara Coufal of North Loup some of the firefighters are running low on water and gatorade and rationing supplies. Area residents are invited to donate water, gatorade, towels, old drink coolers that you are willing to donate as they will not be returned, also eyedrops and suntan lotion. Monetary donations would also be appreciated as some food and other supplies are being purchased for the firefighters.
Donations of supplies and money can be dropped off at Trotters Truck Plaza in Ord and at the Pump and Pantry in Ord. This effort may go on for several days.