State, local crews join forces to fight Votaw Road Fire

As many as 25 fire departments across Nebraska have helped fight the Votaw Road fire, according to the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
Votaw Road Wildfire
Courtesy: NEMA

CAIRO, Neb. — As many as 25 fire departments across Nebraska have helped fight the Votaw Road fire, according to the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

State assets like the Wildland Incident Response Assistance Team (WIRAT), NEMA and the Nebraska National Guard have also to contributed with fighting the blaze.

“We were called Wednesday morning around 11 o’clock,” said chief of the Cairo fire department Steve Oseka.

Twin Loups and Platte Valley mutual aid districts were some of the crews who have assisted with the fire. Those organizations are made up of 18 local fire departments that make up their own strike team. This is the fourth fire they have fought as a strike team since Fall last year.

“Like all volunteers, fire departments, and EMT in the state of Nebraska we are just glad to help,” Oseka said.

Volunteer fire fighters have been working 12-hour shifts to combat the fire on Votaw Road.

“They said it was very hard to get to, they would go to some areas and immediately had to back out because of dead end stops,” said chief of the Dannebrog fire department, Terry Webb.

Helicopters are continuously dropping water on the fire zones, while ground units fight the fire head on.

“Biggest thing is, we needed to give them some time off,  so they can go home to their own personal lives, and being volunteers they just need a break,” Oseka said.

Webb said emergencies like this aren’t just stressful for the fire department.

“It also puts stress on firefighters’ spouses, and kids, because they all worry when their loved ones go out,” Webb stated.

Oseka and Webb repeatedly said they are just a small piece of a very large puzzle.

“It takes all of us working together to get the job done,” said Oseka.

Fire departments with the Twin Loups mutual aid include Dannebrog, Boelus, Ashton, Farwell, Rockville, Elba, St. Libory, and St. Paul.

Fire departments with the Platte Valley mutual aid are Shelton, Wood River, Cairo, Alda, Grand Island, Rural, Grand Island City, Doniphan, Chapman, Philips and Aurora.

“If they weren’t here, we wouldn’t be able to put this at where it is today,” said NEMA exercise training officer Larry Fitcherner.

The fire is 65% contained as of Sunday.

Categories: Nebraska News, News