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Wildfires in Panhandle prompt evacuations near Gering, Crawford
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Wildfires in Panhandle prompt evacuations near Gering, Crawford

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SCOTTBLUFF — Firefighters from the Panhandle on Friday continued to battle multiple wildfires that started early Thursday afternoon.

Crews from the Gering, Mitchell, Morrill, Lyman, Scottsbluff Rural and LaGrange fire departments responded to a fire near Gering. The fire was estimated at 3,600 acres but had been 80% contained by Friday evening. 

Fire south of Mitchell and Morrill

A wildfire burns south of Mitchell and Morrill on Thursday night.

Residents of 10 homes along Derringer Road several miles west of Gering were asked to evacuate Thursday night, but were allowed to return Friday evening. Several other roads in the area were also cordoned off.

A fire about five miles southwest of Crawford also prompted evacuations, according to the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency. That fire had grown to 1,000 acres as of Friday and was 0% contained.

Panhandle fire

A fire burns south of Crawford Friday morning.

Residents in an area four miles south of Crawford — within the area west of Nebraska 71, south of 4-mile Road, east of Deadman Road and north of West Belmont Road — were advised to leave their homes. Deputies with the Dawes County Sheriff's Office were notifying residents.

NEMA said in an update Friday that 30 structures were evacuated in the area. It noted crews are working to strengthen fire lines after overcoming difficulties because of shifting winds a day earlier.

The agency sent a team of six to Crawford to assist and the State Operations Center has been partially activated, assisting on both the Vista Trend Fire near Gering and the Post Fire near Crawford.

Officials said no structures have been lost and no injuries have been reported for either fire.

“Two simultaneous wildfires requiring similar resources necessitates the careful coordination of available assets,” said NEMA assistant director Bryan Tuma. “We are working with local, state and federal partners to minimize the impact these fires will have on western Nebraska.”

Temperatures in the region were expected to be in the 90s Saturday with winds up to 15 mph.

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Weekend editor

Alex Lantz is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has had various roles at the Journal Star since 2012. He currently manages the news section on weekends and oversees the internship program.

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