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Mar 13, 2015

04:33:56 GMT--Forest / Wild Fire - North-America - USA

EDIS Number: WF-20150313-47299-USA

Date / time: 13/03/2015 04:32:32 [UTC]

Event: Forest / Wild Fire

Area: North-America

Country: USA

State/County: State of Nebraska

Location: [Grand Island region]

Number of Deads: N/A

Number of Injured: N/A

Number of Infected: N/A

Number of Missing: N/A

Number of Affected: N/A

Number of Evacuated: N/A

Damage level: Moderate


Fire crews say burning trash from a trash barrel was the cause of a major grass fire near Grand Island. It took firefighters from five different units about 90 minutes to extinguish it. Smoke and flames could be seen for miles near the area of West Old Stolley Park and S Engleman Rd. Two teen boys set up their hunting blind on the grounds across Engleman, and said they were nervous with how fast it spread. "We were here a little bit before the fire trucks starting arriving and we saw them trying to put it out and it was a while before they got all the tractors out here to start plowing the field to stop it," said Harrison Webb. Mikel Schlick added, "I wanted to see if this field was going to start on fire, look at our blind, see if that was going to." Grand Island, Grand Island Rural, Alda, Doniphan, and St. Libory fire crews were all on the scene. Local farmers were also on scene helping by using a pivot to help dampen ground around the fire. At least one pivot tower is damaged. "That's probably a $200,000 pivot, or close to it, that just fried," said Schlick." But it wasn't just farmland that burned.

One man said his property is only feet from where the fire started where his neighbors were burning the trash. "I can't believe with a fire ban on that somebody would actually try to burn their trash with no confinement or anything else like that to cause this much damage to my property," said Myrl Wieland. With all the damage, Wieland needs to figure out how to begin putting everything back together. "We already contacted our insurance company and stuff and from there I'm probably going to have to contact a tree removal to get rid of all the dead burned trees, then get replacement trees of equal size, and then somebody to rototill, smooth out, the ground and then plant new grass. Then getting all the smoke soot out of the house. It's just a very extensive financial situation," he said. Hall County Sheriff's Office says a second grass fire Thursday shut down parts several roads including Highway 30. Smoke and flames can been seen for miles near the area of North Road and Schimmer Road. Winds in the area were making it difficult for firefighters to get control of the flames. Officials say that fire was sparked by a dirt bike engine. Another fire along Highway 2 near Cairo burned up a stretch of land about 1 mile long. Officials believe it was caused by a lit cigarette butt, but that has not been confirmed.

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