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Fire crews from surrounding communities battle brush fire

Area homes evacuated
Posted at 4:52 PM, Mar 05, 2020

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — A brush fire plowed through Sarpy County on Thursday afternoon. Fire chiefs say conditions made it very dangerous.

The National Weather Service of Omaha said there was extreme fire danger because of high winds and dry conditions. While crews managed to get the fire in Sarpy County under control, the damage was done for one resident.

“The flames hadn’t even gotten to the road but ash was flying in the air,” says nearby resident Jan Riha.

The fire started near 180th Street and Buffalo Road, west of Springfield. The roughly 45 mile-per-hour winds pushed flames across roads to the southeast, destroying fields and anything in its path.

Riha lives on Cornish Road and got out of her home with her two cats. She hadn’t been back to her house yet but was told her barn was destroyed by the fire.

Papillion Fire Chief Bill Bowes says there are preventative steps people can take to prevent fires like the one that happened today.

“If a developer, builder, farmer has an old burn pile, make sure that it’s completely out,” says Bowes. “If you’re a smoker, don’t throw those butts out the windows. That’s probably the biggest thing that we’re worried about right now.”

After about three hours, the fire was under control. Residents in the Meadow Oaks neighborhood were told to evacuate but were later let back in. Jan Riha said the blaze spread quickly.

“It doesn’t take much when you’ve got this much dried ground and high winds, it doesn’t take much,” she says.

READ MORE: Conditions ripe for fires to get out of control, says NWS