Nebraska farmers asked to help fight wildfires amid dangerous conditions

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Nebraska farmers are being called on to help battle wildfires, with one agency saying it cannot handle these out-of-control blazes without their assistance.

Osceola Fire and Rescue sent the plea on social media after at least a dozen departments from across the state spent hours battling a blaze north of Columbus on Thursday.

Humphrey Fire and Rescue shared a separate message around midnight, thanking those other agencies and more than 30 farmers who helped fight the flames.

The wildfire started north of Highway 81, shutting the road down for about 8 miles.

Osceola Fire and Rescue shared a photo showing smoke covering the area, and a farmer’s tractor right in the thick of it.

Officials say they need more support just like that when conditions get as dangerous as they’ve been in Nebraska this week.

OFR is asking farmers to call or text Fire Chief Toby Watts at 402-366-9850 to be added to an emergency paging system, which will alert you in times of need.

This request comes as more people living in rural areas are taking firefighting into their own hands.

The New York Times reports that some residents in remote communities are going as far as buying and outfitting personal fire rigs to protect their property and loved ones.

But the article adds that many professional firefighters do not support going that far.

It says they’re worried that could give a false sense of security and lead to people ignoring lifesaving evacuations.

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