Roughly 100 acres of grass, trees and brush in the hills surrounding Hubbard Gap had been consumed by mid-afternoon Thursday in a wildfire that started around 11 a.m.
Firefighters from more than half a dozen agencies in Scotts Bluff, Banner and Morrill Counties, were called in to fight the blaze, with Region 22 Emergency Management Director Tim Newman telling KNEB News they had to contend with a variety of complications. “Weather, terrain, wind… I mean, this is very steep. They’re talking about doing hand-line (firefighting) there, and that’s not our forte, we usually work off the engines,” said Newman. “So, this is really steep terrain, and we have aircraft coming in.”
Newman said those fixed-wing aircraft were from Chadron and Hot Springs, and additional helicopter resources had been requested following a disaster declaration by Banner County Commissioners, but probably would not be available until Friday, if still needed.
The Scotts Bluff County Roads Department brought in heavy equipment to cut fire breaks ahead of the flames, and area ranchers pitched in with water tankers as they also had to contend with moving cattle out of harms way.
A cause has not yet been released. Additional details will be provided when they become available.