So far this year, Nebraska has had no problems with serious wildfires, which was a plague for several parts of the state last year.
Governor Heineman says Nebraska is lucky to have enough rainfall to ease dry conditions and it hasn’t experienced the devastating fires this year like those in California, Arizona and Colorado.
“We were very, very fortunate,” Heineman says. “I think we were as prepared as we’ve ever been with some of the additional measures that we took, additional training and that’s all worth it, but you know what? I’m very glad we didn’t have to implement it. We have another ten days to watch but it’s very unlikely at this stage, I think.”
This past session, Nebraska lawmakers approved the Wildfire Control Act, which includes basing a single-engine air tanker under contract to the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency at any of three airports — Alliance, Chadron or Valentine.
State forestry officials had expressed concern about the potential for larger wildfires in the future, due to heat, drought and the spread of highly flammable eastern red cedar trees.
By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice