High winds sparked wildfires in southeastern Nebraska on a day the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for high fire danger, due to high winds and low humidity.
Rural fire departments from Beatrice and Pickrell battled a series of wind-whipped field fires north of Beatrice Monday that destroyed a combine and led to a wreck between an SUV and an emergency vehicle.
Robert Harms, who lives north of Pickrell, east of Highway 77, says the fires greatly reduced visibility.
“When we crossed the highway you couldn’t see 20 foot (in front of you) and it had been burning for quite a while,” Harms told Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KWBE.
The fires torched a combine harvesting soybeans. The SUV drove into the thick smoke while a passenger video-taped the fires. It ran into a rural fire department vehicle. The five people in the SUV were treated and released at a local hospital.
Doug Kennedy, KWBE, contributed to this story.