Nebraska National Forest fires combine, helping crews hold it north

Nebraska National Forest fires combine, helping crews hold it north courtesy photo

Halsey, NE- The 201 East Fire at the Nebraska National Forest near Halsey continues to burn as of Noon on Friday May 20th.

In a press release, it was estimated that the fire grew to have burned an estimated 4,100 acres on Thursday. With a Red Flag Warning having been issued for the entire day, firefighters battled under extreme conditions including high temperatures, strong gusty winds, and extreme dry conditions.

The blaze was able to advance two miles east and also spread to the south. As it progressed south, it joined with the rekindled Whitetail Fire. This helped crews hold the fire north of the Dismal River because the Whitetail Fire had already burned and partially consumed fuels between the 201 East Fire and the river.

More fire crews arrived Thursday to reinforce a fire line by extinguishing hot and smoldering material along the fire perimeter and cutting down any hazard trees that might pose a safety risk to ground personnel.

The Friday weather forecast has been more favorable. Paired with the absence of a Red Flag Warning, firefighter’s efforts have been concentrated on holding the fire within the established perimeter.

The Bessey Ranger District of the Nebraska National Forest near Halsey, NE remains temporarily closed. Please remain aware of local conditions and do not enter the fire area.  The use of drones is prohibited and if flown in the surrounding area, aircraft are grounded and this will slow progress. This closure is necessary to provide for public and firefighter safety as they manage this fire.