CAMBRIDGE, Neb. (KMTV) — On Friday, the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) provided updates via news release on the Road 702 Fire that began last Friday, April 22 in Kansas. Containment of the wildfire is now at 97% and resources began demobilizing yesterday. As a result, Nebraska Type 3 Incident Management Team has assumed control of the fire from the Rocky Mountain Complex Incident Management Team 1.
“The type 3 IMT will continue to provide rest and relief for local volunteer firefighters as they prepare to pick the fire back up on Saturday,” said the new incident commander, Matt Holte of the Nebraska Forest Service, in a statement. “These local fire departments will be faced with a lot of needs and concerns as they continue to monitor and patrol the area after the outside resources have departed. We want to make sure they have recovered from their extraordinary efforts in the first days of this fire.”
Crews continue to monitor hotspots and smoldering vegetation, said NEMA in its release, but eastern Nebraska's severe weather potential is high on Friday. Winds of up to 60 mph are predicted as are evening thunderstorms. Despite these factors, the Nebraska Forest Service says the fire spread potential is "moderate," balanced by higher levels of humidity and potential precipitation that may dampen fire fuel such as dry grasses and agricultural lands.
In addition to improvements in management and containment, the acreage of the fire's footprint has been adjusted, though the Road 702 Fire did not physically expand beyond the firelines that were already established. The new total acreage is 44,024 acres to account for "islands" of unburned vegetation surrounded by burns, up from previous estimates of 43,582 acres.
Down from yesterday's 221 personnel at the fire, there are 190 active personnel at the fire Friday, a number that will continue to descend.