CAMBRIDGE, Neb. (KMTV) — The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said in a news release that the Road 702 Fire, which began last Friday on the Kansas side of the Nebraska-Kansas border, has improved to 74% containment, but elevated fire conditions are expected on Wednesday.
This is a significant improvement from yesterday,when the Rocky Mountain Complex Incident Management Team One reported 47% containment of the fire. Additionally, there has been no expansion of acreage of the fire, which reflects another element of progress in the firefighting efforts, as an estimated 41,448 acres have been affected.
In light of the progress, resources will begin to demobilize to return home or for reassignment to other incidents. Firefighters will continue to patrol the perimeter of areas that are considered contained to ensure no hot spots remain.
There are currently 208 personnel at the scene of the Road 702 Fire, including the Nebraska Army and Air National Guard, the above-named agencies, volunteer fire departments, the National and Nebraska State Forest Services and other area fire departments. One firefighter died over the weekend while five others have been injured.
"On Tuesday, shifting wind gusts of 30 to 40 mph caused the fire to spot in two locations outside of the current perimeter," Dan Dallas of the Rocky Mountain Complex Incident Management, said in a press release. "Both fires were quickly caught and tied back into the main fire after good coordination between firefighters and local landowners along with National Guard helicopters doing bucket drops."
On Wednesday, firefighters of Branch I will focus on the section of uncontained fire edge that is south of US-6 (east of Bartley), along the Republican River. NEMA said that the portion of the fire in Kansas has been contained, so Branch III will work on uncontained fire edges south of Wilsonville. Both branches of resources will monitor existing hot spots.
In terms of weather, the area of the Road 702 Fire — Furnas, Frontier and Red Willow Counties — will experience elevated fire weather conditions but not the severity of the Red Flag Warning that was experienced Tuesday. Winds will decrease in severity as temperatures warm-up, but a risk of thunderstorms in the evening may bring higher winds and the chance of lightning strikes.