We received photos taken by Rick of the Scott Lookout on the Nebraska National Forest that were taken September 15 about two weeks before the tower was damaged in the Bovee Fire on October 2. Rick is a Forest Service employee from another state and is knowledgeable about wildland fire.
“The road up to the lookout was lined with big, old (well cured) hand piles and the tower was surrounded by ponderosa pines with an excellent needle cast duff layer,” Rick wrote.
12:53 CDT October 15, 2022
The Scott lookout tower that was damaged during the Bovee Fire in Nebraska on October 2 is going to be assessed next month by a structural engineer to determine the integrity of the structure that remains. The damage easily visible in photos includes wood steps and the cabin at the top. The steel framework still stands.
The fire burned nearly 19,000 acres of the Nebraska National Forest and private land on both sides of Highway 2 west of Halsey. When it started October 2 the relative humidity was in the 20s and the wind was gusting to 34 mph out of the south-southeast.
In addition to destroying most of the structures in a 4-H camp, several thousand acres of hand-planted forest burned. The forest was an experiment started in 1903 to provide timber for the railroad and early Sandhills residents. The first planting consisted of 35 acres of jack pine from Minnesota, 15 acres of yellow pine from the Black Hills, and 34 acres of mixed red cedar, blue spruce, jack, and yellow pine.
Multiple structures reportedly destroyed at 4-H camp
Updated 5:26 p.m. CDT Oct. 4, 2022
An updated map is available for the Bovee Fire near Halsey, Nebraska, showing that it has burned approximately 18,932 acres. Compared to the last map update Sunday night it is shown to be substantially farther to the north, crossing from Thomas County into Cherry County. The overall length, north to south, is 17 miles and at its widest point southwest of Halsey is 3 miles across.
All evacuations on the fire have been lifted and Highway 2 is open. Drive with caution, firefighters advise, as there may be heavy fire traffic and smoke in the area.
In the video below recorded Tuesday morning Planning Section Chief Tom Barter presented an update. At that time he did not have access to the newest map, above.
Updated 7:39 p.m. CDT Oct. 3, 2022
Showers and high humidity have slowed the spread of the Bovee Fire west of Halsey, Nebraska. Two weather stations west and north of the fire have recorded 0.24″ and 0.17″ of rain since 1 a.m. Monday.
The Rocky Mountain Complex Incident Management Team, led by Incident Commander Dan Dallas, is en route to the incident.
The Lincoln Journal Star reported that a volunteer firefighter, Mike Moody assistant Chief of the Purdum Volunteer Fire Department, died at the fire Sunday after suffering a medical emergency. Moody, 59, had served with the department for more than 40 years and had previously been its chief, according to a news release from the agency.
“We had a good night last night and made a lot of progress on the east and north,” said Incident Commander Brian Daunt. “Today’s focus is going to be holding those lines, and constructing line to the west of the fire.”
More than 100 firefighters are on scene, including two Interagency Hotshot Crews, 10 engines, and a dozer. Colorado’s Multimission Aircraft is scheduled to fly the fire this afternoon to provide detailed infrared mapping of the fire perimeter.
A mapping flight at 7:30 p.m. Sunday found that the fire had burned 7,780 acres. Officially, the Nebraska National Forest is still going with 15,000 acres, an estimate developed Sunday afternoon before it was mapped from an aircraft.
Nebraska Highway 2 has been reopened between Thedford and Halsey.
11:53 a.m. CDT Oct. 3, 2022
The Bovee Fire has prompted an evacuation of the community of Halsey in central Nebraska. After it was reported Sunday at 1:38 p.m. CDT it spread north very rapidly. When the fire was mapped at 7:30 p.m. it had blackened 7,780 acres.
It is burning on the Nebraska National Forest and on private land on both sides of Highway 2 west of Halsey, 13 miles southeast of Thedford.
The Forest Service reported that multiple large and single engine air tankers assisted firefighters Sunday and an incident management team has been ordered.
Multiple structures are reported to have been destroyed at the Nebraska State 4-H camp.
When the fire started the relative humidity was in the 20s and the wind was gusting to 34 mph out of the south-southeast. The wind speed decreased overnight as clouds moved in and after midnight light rain was detected at the Thedford Airport. A weather station north of the fire at the Valentine National Refuge measured 0.13″ Monday between 2 and 11 a.m. CDT.
In May of this year the 201 East Fire just south of the current Bovee Fire burned 4,100 acres in the Nebraska National Forest.
During the 24-hour period ending at 6 a.m. Wednesday 39,421 lightning strikes were detected in parts of Wyoming, Colorado, South Dakota, and Nebraska. In many areas there was not a great deal of rain accompanying the lightning.
The weather forecast for Cheyenne, Wyoming on Wednesday is for 84 degrees, 12 mph winds out of the southeast, 30 percent cloud cover, and 22 percent relative humidity.
The satellite photo taken at 11:56 a.m. MDT on Wednesday shows partly cloudy skies over the general region.
Another fire, the Carter Fire, has burned more than 10,000 acres near Scotts Bluff, Nebraska
Updated 8:46 p.m. MDT August 1, 2022
The Fish Fire eight miles south-southeast of Sundance, Wyoming spread to the east Monday threatening the Canyon Springs subdivision. Crews are working in the area to provide protection to the structures. Monday afternoon it had burned about 750 acres.
To see all of the articles on Wildfire Today about the Fish Fire, including the most current, click HERE.
Residences from Canyon Springs Road to the south end of the fire and east of Wyoming Highway 585 are still under evacuation.
The fire started on private land and was human-caused.
A Wyoming Type 3 incident management team is expected to arrive and in-brief Monday at 6 p.m.
The smoke from the fire is blowing east into South Dakota toward Lead and Rapid City .
It is a fairly big air show for that part of the country. We checked a flight tracking app late in the afternoon Monday and spotted four large air tankers at the fire or at the Rapid City Tanker Base 63 miles to the southeast — two BAe-146s and two RJ85s. Tanker 168, an RJ85, flew up from Abilene, dropped, and headed to Rapid City. There are also two Type 1 helicopters and a Type 3 helicopter assisting firefighters.
The state of Colorado’s PC12 multi-mission aircraft is also on scene for mapping and intelligence support. It found that at noon the fire had burned 527 acres.
Monday afternoon the Four Corners weather station south of the fire recorded 88 degrees, 13 percent relative humidity, and 10 to 20 mph winds gusting out of the west and northwest up to 32 mph. The forecast for the fire on Tuesday predicts 87 degrees, 21 percent RH, and 10 to 15 mph south winds shifting to the west in the afternoon gusting up to 20 mph.
Carter Canyon Fire
The Carter Canyon Fire seven miles southwest of Scotts Bluff, Nebraska has grown to 15,592 acres. The blaze destroyed three homes and damaged several more in the Carter Canyon community that was evacuated Sunday.
The temperature at the fire reached 102 degrees Monday with 16 percent RH and winds gusting at 10 to 15 mph. The National Weather Service forecasts temperatures around or in excess of 100 degrees over the next six days.
Large air tankers have also been assisting firefighters on the Carter Canyon Fire.
Updated at 9:54 a.m. MDT August 1, 2022
The map below shows heat detected by a satellite as it passed over the Fish Fire at 2:37 a.m. Monday.
We will update this article as more information becomes available.
10:20 p.m. MDT July 31, 2022
The Fish Fire 8 miles south-southeast of Sundance, Wyoming is prompting evacuations south of the city. Evacuation orders are in effect from south of Canyon Springs Road to the south end of the fire, and east of Wyoming Highway 585.
Since it was reported at about 11:30 Sunday morning it burned approximately 500 acres on the Black Hills National Forest by 7 p.m., according to fire officials. Air tankers and at least one Type 1 helicopter are assisting firefighters.
A Wyoming Type 3 incident management team is expected to arrive on Monday.
Another fire in the Northern Great Plains has been burning since 6:30 p.m. on July 30 seven miles southwest of Scotts Bluff, Nebraska. The Carter Canyon Fire has grown to approximately 13,000 acres, with part of it being within the Cedar Canyon Wildlife Management Area south of Carter Canyon.
Single engine air tankers as well as large air tankers have been working on these fires, flying out of Rapid City and Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (Jeffco) near Denver. An air attack aircraft flew over from Cody, Wyoming to assist with the Fish Fire on Sunday.
In a Friday morning briefing Caleb, Operations Section Chief, said the 201 East Fire in Central Nebraska is still 4,100 acres and is not expected to grow larger.
Updated 9:09 p.m. MDT May 19, 2022
The 201 East Fire in Central Nebraska was very active again Thursday afternoon, as the convection column topped out with a hint of pyrocumulus. Thursday evening fire officials estimated it had grown to 4,100 acres, an increase of about 2,600 acres since Wednesday evening. Much of the growth was on the east side where it ran for about two miles, but when the wind shifted from coming from the west and then north gusting to 30 to 35 mph, it spread to the south where it merged with the Whitetail Fire, which also started from Tuesday’s lightning; it had been stopped at 8 acres, but flared up again Thursday. As of Thursday evening, the additional southward spread had not crossed the Dismal River.
Firefighters were battling 90 degree temperatures and strong, shifting winds.
Additional firefighting resources are arriving, including hand crews, helicopters, and engines. They hoping to directly suppress the flanks as it moves into the grass to the east.
The forecast for Friday is cooler temperatures, 55 degrees, 40 percent relative humidity, and 18 mph winds gusting out of the northwest at 28 mph, but there is a 26 percent chance of rain Friday night.
9:48 a.m. MDT May 19, 2022
A fire in central Nebraska has burned about 1,500 acres of timber in the Nebraska National Forest. The 201 East Fire is one of six in the area ignited by lightning on Tuesday May 17. Firefighters were able to stop the spread of the others at less than 9 acres.
It started in a 21,000-acre patch of timber three miles south of Halsey. By Wednesday morning a dozer line had it mostly encircled, but in the afternoon the fire crossed the line on the east side and ran for about 1.5 miles, leaving the timber and getting into grass. District Ranger Julie Bain said greenup has started but there is enough dead grass mixed with this year’s growth to still carry a fire, but they feel they can more easily stop it in the grass.
Aircraft used on the fire Wednesday included two single engine air tankers, two large air tankers, and an air attack ship. A Type 3 incident management team has been assigned.
The weather recorded at Thedford Wednesday afternoon as the fire made the run to the east was 6 to 13 mph winds occasionally gusting to 17 mph, 84 degrees, and 26 percent relative humidity.
Firefighters made good progress Monday on the Road 702 Fire in southwest Nebraska.
Most of the fire impacted grass and crop lands, but there are woody draws which have heavier fuels, especially on Beaver Creek along Highway 89 and near the Republican River south of US 34. Those areas are receiving more attention from firefighters as they are mopping up. Incident Commander Rob Powell said there will be smoke in those draws for a while.
The most recent map produced at 4 p.m. MDT April 25 shows an increase of about 300 acres to bring the total up to 41,448 acres, due to a four mile long finger of fire north of US 34 northeast of Bartley that was not detected during an earlier mapping flight. Fire crews have contained all of the fire north of the highway, including the additional acreage.
The fire started in Kansas on Friday April 22 during a wind event which pushed it north quickly into Nebraska where it continued running. The fire was 27 miles long when firefighters were able to stop it two miles southwest of the Medicine Creek Reservoir.
Video captures a helicopter from the Nebraska Army National Guard dropping water on The #Road702Fire near Cambridge, Nebraska on April 24. The blaze has spread to an estimated 50,000 acres. #NEwx
A retired fire chief died in a Nebraska fire that has burned 41,155 acres in the southwest part of the state. The Road 702 Fire is west of the towns of Cambridge and Wilsonville and has crossed both US 34 and State highway 89. About 1,500 acres of the blaze is in Kansas.
Alyssa Sanders, with the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, said 66-year-old John P. Trumble, of Arapahoe, was overcome by smoke and fire after his vehicle left the road Friday April 22 during conditions of poor visibility caused by smoke and dust. His body was found early Saturday. He was assisting firefighters by serving as a spotter in Red Willow County.
Nebraska National Guard has mobilized three helicopters and several support trucks to help battle the fire.
A Type 1 Incident Management Team from the Rocky Mountain Geographic Area led by Incident Commander Dan Dallas assumed command April 24.
Stephanie Shively with the Incident Management Team said Monday morning that the resources on the fire include 9 engines, one 20-person crew, and the 3 National Guard helicopters for a total of about 100 personnel. They have outstanding orders for dozers and another hand crew.
Ms. Shively said the size of the fire has not changed since it was mapped Sunday.
We send our sincere condolences to the family, friends, and co-workers of Chief Trumble.