Multiple towns evacuated as wildfires spread in southwest Nebraska

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Multiple towns in southwest Nebraska were being evacuated Friday as several wildfires flared up in that corner of the state.

About 6:30 p.m., the Furnas County Sheriff’s Office told all Cambridge residents to “evacuate now” in a Facebook post.

The agency later said evacuation was not mandatory.

About 9:30 p.m., the city of about 1,000 people was again under a mandatory evacuation order.

The Sheriff’s Office said people could take shelter in the public school in Arapahoe and the Holbrook Community Building.

Shortly before 7:30 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office in neighboring Red Willow County said “Bartley and Indianola need to evacuate.”

Indianola has about 550 residents. Bartley is a village of less than 300 people.

By 11 p.m., multiple facilities in McCook offering shelter had closed to additional evacuees.

People needing a place to stay were asked to contact the McCook Police Department at 308-345-3450.

Campers at Medicine Creek State Recreation Area were also being evacuated, according to the Nebraska State Patrol.

About 8:30 p.m., the Furnas County Sheriff’s Office said Wilsonville and surrounding areas should be “prepared to evacuate.”

Fueled by high winds, several fires were sparked in the afternoon and evening, limiting visibility and closing major roads, including a 50-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 6/34.

The patrol said on Twitter that there were multiple blazes in its Troop D area, which comprises 23 counties in the west-central and southwest parts of the state.

The patrol warned people to stay away from the wildfires and urged drivers to be cautious.

“If you’re traveling, be sure your headlights are on and be alert to rapid changing driving conditions,” the patrol said.

According to the Nebraska Department of Transportation, there were several roads closed because of low visibility as of late Friday afternoon, including:

  • U.S. Highway 6/34 from McCook to the junction with Nebraska Highway 46
  • U.S. Highway 283 from Elwood to Arapahoe
  • Junction of U.S. Highway 83 and eastbound Nebraska Highway 89

You can get the latest information on road closures from the Nebraska 511 website.

The patrol also urged “extreme caution” in the Benkelman area because of a fire.

A couple hours later, Troop D said there was a blaze in Perkins County.

This is a developing story. Stick with Channel 8 for the latest.

Categories: Nebraska News, News, Top Stories