Rural fire burns small area northwest of Beatrice

BEATRICE – A grass fire northwest of Beatrice in the DeWitt Fire District sent DeWitt, Beatrice Rural Firefighters and a Homestead National Historical Park fire unit to a farm Friday afternoon.

A fire that burned three to four acres of CRP grass broke out along Southwest 103rd Road, northwest of the Koch Nitrogen Fertilizer plant.

Beatrice Rural Fire Chief Matt Langley says the fire initially was reported to be approaching a house.  "It didn't get as close as what was reported initially, so it wasn't too much of a threat to any buildings."

Langley said the fire was started by recreational activity.  "They were out shooting some practice targets and just the nick of a spark took it off...mostly it was pretty thick smoke because of the green grass that was burning. It was more toward the west of the house and the buildings were not in any immediate danger."

Langley said firefighters observed a lot of smoke when they rolled up to the scene. He says conditions are beginning to get very dry in rural areas, adding to the fire risk.

"An accident just from some recreational target shooting...something as simple as that starting the grass (on fire) we hope for some rain. There's not a whole lot of chances in the forecast. If it stays dry, the public is going to have to use extreme caution on everything that they're doing."

Even though the fire was in the DeWitt District, Beatrice Rural Firefighters were summoned because of a low availability of personnel from DeWitt, at the time.
Fire personnel were dispatched at 3:10 p.m. Units were back in service from the fire scene, about a half-hour later.