Gov. Dave Heineman plans to head to the northwest corner of Nebraska to tour areas ravaged by three large wildfires in the last week.
Heineman and Nebraska Emergency Management Agency Assistant Director Al Berndt will tour the areas on Sunday. Heineman will also meet with local and state responders and firefighters in the Rushville, Crawford and Chadron areas.
Winds and dry, hot conditions fanned the fire at Rushville on Friday and Saturday, growing the area scorched from 16 square miles Friday morning to a staggering 93 square miles by Saturday morning. Two other wildfires further west were kept more in check overnight, growing to about 115 square miles by Saturday from a combined 107 square miles on Friday.
The Nebraska Army National Guard has been called up to help fight.
The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency and the Nebraska Military Department approved the help on Friday, activating 34 trained Guard soldiers assigned to Chadron's 1057th Light/Medium Truck Company to help fight a fire near Rushville.
Also, three additional Guard helicopters have been activated to help fight fires near Chadron, Harrison and Hay Springs, bringing the total to five.
U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Cyd Janssen says the town of Whitney was evacuated Friday night as a fire that had been burning south of Chadron moved west and threatened it.
Janssen says the fire "burned right up to Whitney."
Another fire that was burning between Chadron and Hay Springs has spread north into South Dakota. The Sheridan County Sheriff's Office says a pre-evacuation order has been issued for residents in the border town of Whiteclay, Neb., and the surrounding area.