Betty’s Way fire in west central Nebraska consumes 71,000 acres in 24 hours

Betty’s Way fire in west central Nebraska consumes 71,000 acres in 24 hours
Photo courtesy Sam Bray via KRVN
February 27th, 2024 | rmurphy

Officials say a grassland wildfire burning in Lincoln, Custer and Logan Counties since Monday was human-caused, and had consumed just over 71,000 acres in about 24 hours.

Evacuations were issued Monday for areas ahead of the Betty’s Way fire and to date no injuries have been reported, but two primary residences and numerous outbuildings have been destroyed.

Wind speeds in excess of 40 miles an hour drove the flames east from the point of ignition northeast of North Platte, which the State Fire Marshal said was caused by mowing operations.

Some 15 volunteer fire departments had responded with mutual aid, including crews from Gering, Banner County, Scottsbluff Rural, Minatare-Melbeta, Alliance and Crawford, and the Nebraska Incident Management Team to support the local fire managers on scene.

The Nebraska National Guard and Nebraska State Patrol were providing aerial assets to monitor and fight the blaze.

12 minutes after the initial call, North Platte Fire had arrived on scene with firefighters from three stations, and initiated suppression tactics.

Governor Jim Pillen has declared an emergency disaster, providing additional support from Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, Nebraska Forest Service, Nebraska State Fire Marshal, and cooperating agencies from across the state.

Fire managers are assessing the work performed the past 24 hours and anticipate some containment later in the day Tuesday. They’re also working with ranchers, farmers and residents to address any needs they have.


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