Expert says Nebraska doesn’t have a fire season anymore as the threat is year-round
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Nebraska crews have been stretched to the limit fighting deadly and destructive fires all year.
Now a National Forest official is sharing news no one wants to hear.
As of the latest update, nearly half of Nebraska remained in extreme or exceptional drought.
Teahon says fire risk to life and property will be high if we see the kind of wind that blew through last year.
Hallam Volunteer Fire Departments saw an increase in wildfires this year because of the drought.
“We had some lawnmowers actually caught fire this year because it’s been so dry,” said Hallam Fire Chief Ryan Skillett. “Things get built up and you can’t stop it.”
Right now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts drought conditions across the Midwest will persist through at least January.
Teahon says cold weather creates even more challenges telling Nebraska News Connection, “the problem now is that it’s getting below freezing, and fire trucks will start freezing up, you know, once the sun goes down.”
Other complications outside of equipment failure include hypothermia, frostbite, and increased falls due to water freezing under firefighters’ feet.
Chief Skillett said because of the weather conditions, fire departments have been taking extra measures. In Hallam, for example, there is a no-burn ban in place.
“We are trying not to let anybody burn into the point until we can get some moisture in the ground and help contain some by itself,” Teahon said.
Chief Skillett says even with the challenges that volunteer fire departments face they are ready to battle wildfires year-long.
“We train, we do our due diligence…. expect the best and you know when it comes out, we react as we need to,” Chief Skillett said.