Norris volleyball team helps honor first responders, farmers following wildfires

As wildfires burned through southern Lancaster County on Sunday, many volunteered to help keep them at bay.
Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 10:44 PM CDT
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FIRTH, Neb. (KOLN) - Farmers and first responders were met with roaring applause for what they did for their communities Tuesday night. The ceremony was held after wildfires burned through southern Lancaster County on Sunday and many volunteered to help keep them at bay.

Norris High School Head Volleyball Coach Christina Boesiger was evacuated from her home on Sunday as the fire was quickly approaching. She helped organize the event to honor those who went above and beyond for neighbors during a home match.

“As it was getting closer, they told us we probably need to leave and that was a really scary thing that we’ve never had to do before,” Boesiger said.

Her home and countless others were saved thanks to volunteer firefighters and those farmers. The event was a way for her and her players to say “thank you” to people like Firth volunteer firefighter Jim Woodward. He was one of many who jumped in to help and while he’s no stranger to fires, he echoed something many have heard and said in the past few days - that this one was entirely different.

“I’ve been to some pretty big fires, but that was probably the biggest fire I’ve seen in my 14-year tenure on the fire department,” Woodward said.

In all, 18 agencies were called out to help out, according to Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner. When it came to land boundaries, they were no more as farmers cut lines where they could in their fields and surrounding fields to try and stop the fires from spreading.

Woodward said without the combined effort, Sunday could have ended a lot differently.

“I had a farmer come up to me and he’s like, ‘hey, you want me to turn to the spigot on or the pivot on?’,” Woodward said. “And I’m like, ‘I don’t know whose it is.’ He’s like ‘I don’t care, I’ll turn it on’ and he went and turned it on and actually helped control the fire.”

As for Boesiger, she said that’s what makes living in a small community so rewarding.

“Just to be able to watch and I think is when it really sunk in,” Boesiger said. “How many people are out there, saving other people’s properties and land and other people’s lives.”