Strong winds are again a possibility today, though the gusts likely won’t be as strong as those Sunday afternoon that reached 60 miles an hour and fanned a grass fire in northeast Nebraska. Battle Creek Fire Chief Cleon Schwede says the fire moved very quickly.
“It’s come across a couple of sections of ground,” Chief Schwede says. “It jumped McAllister Street and got a couple of buildings.”
Those buildings were farm outbuildings. Residents in western Battle Creek were asked to evacuate shortly after noon on Sunday, while ashes fell from the sky like snowflakes.
Resident Paige Barry says she hoped and prayed for the best, but prepared for the worst.
Barry says, “We’re just getting our stuff out, family stuff, important stuff like photos, memories, because we can’t get that back if it gets out of control and we lose our house.”
Janice Aldag was among the residents in the town of Battle Creek who were asked to evacuate their homes.
“We did leave but we could see no flames so we decided to come back and do a little preventative stuff,” Aldag says. “We’re watering down and friends have been stopping by, asking to help.”
By 3:30 PM, firefighters from Battle Creek and more than a half-dozen neighboring communities had contained the blaze, which had reached the city’s outskirts. Authorities lifted the evacuation order around 5:15 Sunday afternoon.
The cause of the fire is being investigated.
By Paul Hughes, WJAG, Norfolk