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Burn During Banned Conditions Causes Losses North Of Burwell

Apr 19, 2023 (0)

Atkinson 43 was part of the Holt County Fire Departments sent to a prairie fire north of Burwell on Tuesday, April 11.
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A sanctioned burn in Garfield County caused alarm for residents along the southern Holt County line.

The burn 15 miles north of Burwell in Garfield County quickly got out of hand and spread six to seven miles north, putting homesteads and businesses in peril.

The Burwell Department allowed the burn on Tuesday, the second day of a no-burn Red Flag conditions through the Sandhills. The fire quickly spread north, reaching the Rowse Rakes manufacturing facility area. 

Across the road did not fair as well as a house and a storage shed for Rowse Rakes were lost to the blaze. Rowse Rakes evacuated their facility to keep their employees safe before area departments arrived to stop the fire just outside the facility.

The fire burned an estimated 6,500 acres before being stopped.

Fire crews from Burwell, Erickson, Bartlett, Ord, Atkinson, O'Neill, Chambers and an airplane from Well's Air Service out of Scotia and Arrow Aviation of Broke Bow battled the fire for several hours before conditions became favorable for fire fighting and the blaze was contained.

Later in the week, the O'Neill and area departments sent aide to a fire near Brewster and a fire near Kilgore.

On Monday, April 17, Gov. Jim Pillen announced extending his  statewide burn ban through midnight, April 23.

The extended suspension of the authority of local fire chiefs to waive the open burning ban is in response to dry and windy conditions that pose a greater fire risk.

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