Firefighters gain control of Western Neb. fires

Associated Press Published: August 4, 2012
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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Firefighters had a group of wildfires in western Nebraska nearly contained on Saturday, but were watching the skies for lightning that could spark more fires on the tinder-dry terrain.

Officials believe lightning strikes Thursday started the five Keith County fires near Lake McConaughy at Ogallala. The lake is Nebraska's largest and is a popular summer destination, but the region is otherwise sparsely populated.

Three of the fires burned out of control Friday, but Nebraska Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Jodie Fawl told The Associated Press that one of the fires had been completely extinguished by Saturday and two others were fully contained.

"It looks like they're winding down," Fawl said. "They've made some real progress."

A fire north of Brule was 75 percent to 80 percent contained on Saturday, and another in northeastern Keith and southwest McPherson counties was 90 percent contained.

The wildfires have blackened more than 78 square miles. One firefighter suffered heat exhaustion Friday, but no other injuries or building damage have been reported. No evacuations or road closures had been ordered by Saturday.



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