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Wildfire reported at 30% containment; homes, other structures damaged

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Wildfire reported at 30% containment; homes, other structures damaged

Scott Bosse took aerial photos of the Cedar Canyon fire on Saturday, at about 8 p.m.

A wildfire south of Gering is reportedly 30% contained and has burned about 13,051 acres. 

Three residences are reported to have been destroyed and seven sustained significant damages,  Region 22 Emergency Management Director Tim Newman said in a press release. He said law enforcement and fire managers are conducting assessments. Some residents of the area contacted by the Star-Herald have reported homes damages, barns and other outbuildings. 

Newman said, "The fire made a significant run through the Carter Canyon estates and impacted several homes. Firefighters were able to provide structure protection and limit the impact."

The fire started at about 6:30 p.m, with firefighters on scene reporting at least two separate fires. Heavy timber, rough terrain and wind driven fire runs hampered efforts. Within three hours both fires substantially increased in acreage.

Aerial assets have also been utilized in the fire. Newman reported Saturday that at least three drops by planes and been made. On Sunday afternoon, he said, a multi-mission aircraft (MMA) flight was ordered and flown over the fire at about 1 p.m.

"Firefighters are working in heavy timber and rough terrain establishing control lines where firefighters can be successful," he said.

Over 35 fire local volunteer fire departments have responded and are assisting with battling this blaze. According to Facebook posts, departments from Wyoming have joined departments from throughout the Panhandle. Newman said county, state and federal resources have also been assisting, including a Type 2 hand crew and heavy air tankers creating fire breaks along the east and south lines Sunday.  A State Type 3 Incident Management Assistance Team is en route to assist. 

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission closed several areas in the Panhandle southwest of Gering to help firefighters battling wildfires, according to information sent Sunday morning.

"It is truly unfortunate to see destructive damage and residents being heavily affected. We are praying for our affected citizens..."

Residents needing assistance are being encouraged to contact Firefighter Ministry or the American Red Cross. Donations of water and other supplies have bee taken for firefighters, however, Newman advised that donations are no longer needed.

The public is encouraged to avoid the areas and some of those areas have been closed, with only residents allowed.  

The Nebraska Game and Parks advised Sunday morning that Cedar Canyon Wildlife Management Area, Montz Point WMA, and Carter Canyon and Montz Point, both part of Platte River Basin Environments, are closed so firefighters are not hindered by vehicle traffic.

These areas are closed to all public access. The public is asked to stay away as area residents may be using the roads to evacuate personal belongings or move livestock to safety.


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