Firefighters battling ‘Smokey Fire’ aided by overnight rains, high humidity

Helicopters Fire Truck Work To Contain Smokey Fire Courtesy Nebraska Emergency Management Agency

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency provided an update on Friday on the state’s response to the wildfire 15 miles south of Gering.

Favorable weather conditions, including rain and high humidity, are aiding firefighters working to contain the blaze. Another round of rain is forecast Friday night.

The fire’s containment rose to 62%, a sharp improvement from the 28% containment reported Thursday. The agency says 4,318 acres have been consumed by the fire in Banner County.

“The rain last night and the additional rain forecast for this afternoon has allowed us to begin the demobilization process today,” incident commander Tim Grubbs said in a press release. “Already, we have demobilized the Nebraska single engine air tankers.”

A single-engine air tanker from Valentine returned to its base Friday, and another tanker is expected to return to its base Friday evening.

Other aircraft, including the two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters provided by the Nebraska National Guard, will remain on the scene to address hot spots. The Nebraska State Patrol has provided drone teams to help find hot spots.

Responders hope to further demobilize state assets by Sunday.

Officials encourage those nearby the fire to remain vigilant of the current fire danger. They also recommend that those sensitive to smoke check the local air quality at

Categories: Nebraska News, News