National Weather Service officials in North Platte said an early morning lightning storm with no rain is to blame for a huge fire in Cherry County.
Refuge Fire Management Officer Troy Davis says the fire was confined to an area just west of Highway 83 between Thedford and
Valentine on the refuge.
The National Weather Service says winds of up to 63 miles per
hour in the area spread the flames.
A dispatcher for Cherry County Sheriff's Office said there are many fire departments fighting this fire. Crews have come from Brownlee, Thedford, Valentine, Wood Lake, Purdum and multiple crews from Fort Niobrara. The dispatcher said there are also many private grass fire rigs who came to help fight this fire.
Officials say Hwy. 83 has been re-opened. As of 5:45 a.m. Tuesday some crews have been sent back home and the remaining crews are mopping up, getting the remaining hot spots.