Northern Plains fires tax local resources

The Wellnitz Fire in Nebraska burned to about 60,000 acres with just 20 percent containment today, according to Jerry Kearns with the Rushville Volunteer Fire Department.  The Sheridan County Journal Star reported that 34 members of the Army Nebraska National Guard’s Chadron-based 1057th light/medium truck company showed up on the fire this morning. The fire is burning east of the 87,000-acre Region 23 Complex, comprised of the the Douthit and West Ash fires.

Region23 Complex
Darrell Hartmann photo

The Rocky Mountain Type 2 Incident Management Team A has been ordered for the Wellnitz (Metcalf) Fire in Sheridan County.

KCSR News reported that an area of about 46,000 acres in the Pine Ridge area of northern Sheridan County is now involved, and a report on sheridancountynebraska.com said that crews from over 20 area volunteer fire departments are fighting the fire. About 50 households in the sparsely inhabited area were warned to evacuate – 20 of those were mandatory evacuation orders.

UPDATE 22:41 PDT: The inciweb site has the Region 23 Complex tonight at 47 percent containment at 87,555 acres. The two fires in that complex are the Douthit Fire northwest of Crawford and the West Ash fire southeast of Crawford and south of Chadron. The IMT reported that one of the DC-10 airtankers made three drops for a total of 36,000 gallons of retardant.

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