High winds hamper progress fighting wildfires in West, Plains
Fire crews that took advantage of a break in the weather in their battle to contain large fires in the West and Plains states fear the return of stronger winds could spread the flames further.
Officials say a southwestern Nebraska wildfire that killed a former volunteer fire chief last week and destroyed several homes is about half contained. After a break in the weather on Monday, a red flag warning was issued for the area by Tuesday, with temperatures expected to be warmer, humidity dropping to as low at 15% and winds gusting up to 35 mph.
Crews in the West continue working to corral blazes in northern New Mexico that have charred a combined 225 square miles over recent days. Several small villages are threatened and evacuations remain in place.
A fire named the 702 Fire has burned around 70 square miles of mostly grasslands and farmland near the border of Nebraska and Kansas.
Jonathan Ashford, spokesman for the Rocky Mountain Complex Incident Management Team said, “Today will definitely be a bit of a test.”