Wildfire Forces Evacuations

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 9:49am

Flames still moving across Logan County, Nebraska

A vast wildfire is burning in Nebraska's Logan County.

Fire crews from across the sandhills region are in the area helping fight the blaze.

On Tuesday evening many Stapleton residents turned on their sprinklers and left their homes as a safety precaution.

"I had five minutes to grab photos and things out of the house and it's still a daze to me right now," says Logan County homeowner Stephen Bennell.

Worse, many living in the country near the town were told to evacuate.

"Woke up to a smell to smoke about a half hour later the fire department escorted me out of my house, at this point I don't know anything, don't know if my house is a blaze ... don't know if we have a house left to go back to," says Bennell.

The fire started near the Lincoln County-Logan County line, and quickly jumped Highway 83.

"At this point we don't know what started it and the fire is running north northwest at that location," says Bob Rose, Sergeant, Nebraska State Patrol.

Witnesses report that it was a combine that started the fire.

As of 6 p.m. Tuesday the fire was at least 16 miles long.

Many in the town of Stapleton are just waiting for answer.

"Kind of in shock at the moment, don't really know, don't know nothing, talk to immediate family but the unknown right now is the unknown," says Benell.

"At this point it's uncertain as to when the overall incident will be deemed as handled and done. I expect the personal will be on the seen well in to the night time hours," says Rose.

"The town of Stapleton's a good town, it brings people together, tragedies certainly do," says Benell.

The Red Cross has established a reception center at the North Platte Rec Center for those impacted by the fire.

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