Wildfires Destroy 14 Homes; Donations Accepted for Ranchers

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Officials monitoring three wildfires in north-central Nebraska say the flames have destroyed 14 homes and have cost about $2.5 million to fight.

Susan Ford, a spokeswoman with the firefighting effort, says none of the three wildfires grew from Friday to Saturday, but says firefighters are still scrambling to contain the two smaller fires.

The fires have burned more than 117 square miles of land, nearly the size of Nebraska's largest city of Omaha.

Ford said Saturday that firefighters have the Fairfield Creek fire, the biggest, completely contained. The Wentworth fire to the east has burned nearly nine square miles and is only 50 percent contained, but officials remain hopeful it can be completely contained by Sunday.

Ford says the Hall fire, the smallest, is 70 percent contained.

Donations are being accepted to help north-central Nebraska livestock producers who've been hit by a one-two punch of drought and wildfires in the area this summer.

Wildfires have burned hundreds of miles of fencing and consumed tens of thousands of acres of what grass was left for cattle and calves to graze on.

The North Central Development Center in Ainsworth has set up a fund to take financial donations to help with the cost of the fire. Donations of wire and post may be delivered to the Farmers and Ranchers Co-op in Ainsworth.

For more information, contact the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Office in Ainsworth at 1-800-634-8951. The development center can be contacted at 402-387-2740.

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