Firefighters have made good progress containing the Buffalo Creek Fire, as local and state partners have utilized multiple resources during management and suppression efforts.
Through MMA flights and ground mapping, the fire is 2,560 acres and 40% contained, with very minimal growth over the past 12 hours. Several homes are in the immediate path of the head of the fire and are still threatened, but as of Tuesday morning, no structures have been lost. Energy Infrastructure, agricultural infrastructure and watersheds have been impacted.
Coordination with Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, fire managers established current and future objectives. Top priority has been safety for the public and firefighters. 90% of the fire perimeter is within the state wildlife management area. Today, firefighters are focusing their efforts on structure protection and suppression along Wrights Gap Road in Division Alpha. Helicopters will be utilized to cool areas where terrain is inaccessible. Firefighters are also coordinating suppression efforts along the western perimeter in Division Hotel, securing the fire with burnout operations and mechanical lines. The fire is approximately 4 miles west of Wildcat Hills Estates and current does not pose any threat to the Estates.
Red Flag conditions will continue to limit firefighting efforts today. Increased drought has caused fuels to be very receptive to fire and increased winds create conditions where fire has the potential to grow rapidly. Weather patters in the middle of the week will assist with containing the fire. Long term weather will still allow this fire to produce pockets of heat.
Buffalo Creek Fire sits within the initial district for the Banner County Fire Department. Incident Commander Tim Grubbs has been coordinating with local and state agencies to bring various mutual aid partners to assist with suppression efforts. 27 fire departments have supplied resources, working 16 hour shifts to obtain containment. Chief Grubbs continues to thank each and every fire department and firefighter that has worked hard to bring this blaze under control.
Fire managers are expected to continue operations through the week to improve containment lines and focus on confinement efforts. Containment means the fire will not leave the area defined as contained. Even though the fire is 40% contained, smoke and heat will be visible within the perimeter for weeks or until significant moisture.