‘Can’t thank them enough’: Volunteers were first firefighters at Lancaster County wildfires

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Volunteer firefighters come from all walks of life, and they drop what they’re doing at a moment’s notice to help others.

A prime example is Sunday’s wildfires in south Lancaster County.

They were the first ones on scene to try to control the fires. Many call them heroes.

“There’s no words. All the volunteers, they work hard, we can’t thank them enough,” said Chief Ryan Skillett of Hallam Volunteer Fire and Rescue.

The Hallam department worked together with Cortland Fire and Rescue in two different areas.

Early Sunday afternoon, they were called to a fire east of Cortland before being called to another fire west of Hallam.

They were working nonstop until late in the night. Some firefighters stayed until Monday morning, taking care of hot spots.

But containing the wildfires was a team effort.

“We started calling around to our local farmers, trying to get their equipment out to help us out to stop this from going even further,” said Dustin McGee, a volunteer Cortland firefighter.

Cody Behrends, a farmer who helped battle the fires, said firefighters and farmers share something in common.

“You don’t think twice about helping anybody, no matter who they are,” he said.

Officials estimated that at least 100 farmers mobilized Sunday afternoon to help firefighters.

Behrends said farmers helped contain the fires near Hallam and Cortland.

“We kind of met and as a group,” he said. “We decided some of us were going to head west and help do what could over there.”

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