Sep 20, 2021 7:46 PM

Disaster Declaration issued for Panhandle wildfires

Posted Sep 20, 2021 7:46 PM

Lincoln  — Following the outbreak of two wildfires in the Panhandle, Governor Ricketts issued an emergency declaration Friday, September 17, in support of response efforts.  

Reported only hours apart, two major wildfires broke out in Dawes and Scotts Bluff counties.

The Post Fire located five miles south of Crawford and the Vista Trend Fire located southwest of the City of Scottsbluff. Together, both fires have burned a cumulative 8,234 acres. Currently containment is at 50 percent and 100 percent respectively. 

Photo by Chadron Volunteer Fire Department
Photo by Chadron Volunteer Fire Department

Various local, state and federal resources are working together to combat a variety a challenges that come with having two significant incidents only miles from one another. A state Type III Incident Management Assistance Team deployed to each location to assist in response operations.  

“The need for effective coordination between multiple state agencies and emergency support functions has been crucial to implementing a cohesive response to the fires occurring in the Panhandle,” said Bryan Tuma, Assistant Director of NEMA. “Sharing resources between two separate incidents in nearby areas, occurring simultaneously, can be challenging.” 

The emergency declaration issued by Governor Ricketts allows incident commanders the flexibility to order resources necessary for the response, including resources from surrounding states. Nebraska National Guard air assets also responded. Over the course of several days, numerous sorties were flown to aid in suppression.