Gov. Dave Heineman sees progress in the fight against three wildfires raging in north-central Nebraska.
The Fairfield Creek Fire has consumed nearly 60,000 acres in Brown, Keya Paha and Cherry Counties. Two other fires, the Wentworth and Hall fires, have eaten up much of southeastern Keya Paha County.
“My sense is we are on the verge of making some significant progress to contain the fires, and that would certainly be very good news for all of us,” Heineman tells Graig Kinzie with Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KBRB.
State and federal resources have been deployed to help the 300-to-400 firefighters from 35 fire departments battle the blaze. Three National Guard helicopters equipped with special water buckets have been deployed to help.
“We are in a much stronger position today trying to contain the fires,” Heineman says. “I can see we are making progress, but the weather still makes you nervous.”
Hopes have been pinned on a weather forecast that predicts the extremely hot temperatures might back off and scattered thunderstorms might form. Strong winds have also hampered efforts to contain the fires.
Heineman says the state’s focus will remain on assisting the volunteer fire departments in the area until the fires are completely under control.
Graig Kinzie contributed to this report.
AUDIO: Griag Kinzie interviews Gov. Heineman about his visit to the wildfire frontlines. [5:30]