Firefighters Battling Exhaustion in Niobrara River Canyon Fire

By: Morgan Demmel Email
By: Morgan Demmel Email

Officials say firefighters are going through the donations quickly. They're asking the community to continue donating food, water and Gatorade as well as eye drops, cough drops and coolers.

You can also donate to the Red Cross by clicking HERE.

Click HERE for the latest update in the Niobrara River Canyon Fire.

Exhaustion is setting in as firefighters continue to battle the Niobrara River Canyon Fire that started Friday near Norden.

"The first day especially the firefighters can do pretty good, for the first 24 hours," Ainsworth Fire Chief Brad Fiala says.

But as the fire grows and firefighters continue to battle it, exhaustion sets in.

"They started getting fatigued, so we have to rotate them out for their own safety," Fiala says.

Fiala says hundreds of volunteers have come from miles away to assist. He estimates more than 300 firefighters have been working on the fire.

"We've got a lot of support, with people and equipment and fire departments," Region 24 Emergency Management Director Doug Fox says.

Officials say the continued hot, dry weather isn't giving firefighters any relief. They are thankful though for the numerous donations of food and water from surrounding community members.

"They've come from everywhere, so it's really nice," Fox says.

People in Ainsworth have been collecting and delivering food and drinks to working firefighters by the truckloads.

"We're all volunteers, we have wives of firemen here, we just have citizens from the community here," Ainsworth resident Cathy Worrel says. "They put a plea out for water, pop, Gatorade, food, and this place was just filled up instantly."

She says it's been kept full almost all weekend.

"I don't know how many truckloads of stuff have gone out," Worrel says. "It's amazing. It's not just Ainsworth, it's all over, people just coming in with cash donations."

In Norden, where just a few structures still stand, people are also providing much needed supplies for those working around the clock.

"Everybody comes here to get what they need," Springview resident Suzy Wentworth says.

Fiala says it's that community support that keeps the firefighters going.

"If it wasn't for them to keep up our strength, we couldn't do this at all," Fiala says.

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