Although most people are groaning because winter weather has returned to the Panhandle, for the five agencies that fought wildfires near Crawford this weekend it is much appreciated.
Beginning at 8:30 Saturday evening the Crawford Volunteer Fire Department was called to a grass fire on Bethel Road. Five units put out the fire in about an hour and only three acres of grass was lost.
They were then called out to a timber fire on the Ponderosa Wildlife Area. Five units again responded and extinguished the quarter-acre fire, returning to the fire hall at about 2:30 Sunday morning.
The Crawford VFD and Forest Service then responded to another timber fire on the Wood Reserve at about 1:30 in the afternoon. They then called for mutual aid from the Chadron, Harrison and Hemingford volunteer fire departments. Firefighters are estimating the fired burned between 160 to 180 acres. The last units left there at about 4 o’clock this morning.
According to Crawford Fire Chief Emil Daugherty (ay-mil door-tee), lightning sparked all of the fires that they dealt with this weekend.
The terrain made it difficult to get to the Ponderosa fire because there were not any roads to it. Terrain, downed timber and the wind hampered the firefighting efforts at the Wood Reserve fire, which started just west of the firelines from the major fire there last year.
But, Chief Daugherty added that there was a great joint effort between the VFDs and Forest Service to put the fire out.
Genell Rothleutner, KCSR, Chadron