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(Neb)-Hot Wheel Bearing Blamed For 70-Acre Fire Near Whitney

By: John Axtell Posted at: 10/31/2017 05:34 PM
CHADRON - A hot wheel bearing on a semi is blamed for a 70-acre range and shelterbelt fire along Highway 20 about a mile-and-a-half east of the Whitney Junction Tuesday morning and afternoon. All the burned land was owned by the same person.

      Crawford Fire Chief Brian Prosser says the big rig ignited dry grass in a roadside ditch, with the wind quickly spreading the flames.

      Chief Prosser says firefighters from the Chadron and Crawford VFDs as well as the U-S Forest Service responded and were able to contain the blaze with firelines, using Brown Road as the northern anchor.

      Highway 20 was closed for a time so crews could work unimpeded, and other than the wind, which Prosser said was "not really friendly," firefighters had no real difficulties.

        The response included 13 engines - 6 from the Crawford VFD, 5 from Chadron, and 2 from the Forest Service - 2 maintainers and a water tender from Dawes County, and a maintainer from Warner Construction, the contractor for repaving Highway 20 in that area.

        Most crews were released by 3:00, but Chief Prosser says a few engines remained on the scene and will stay overnight to monitor for any flare-ups...adding that conditions for wildfire are as bad as they were in July - if not worse.


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