Wildfire in Nebraska National Forest deemed 56% contained

By: - October 4, 2022 6:43 pm
Halsey fire

A wildfire erupted Sunday afternoon at the Nebraska National Forest near Halsey, destroying a lookout tower and structures at the State 4-H Camp. (Courtesy Nebraska Forest and Grasslands)

LINCOLN — High humidity and lower winds Tuesday aided firefighters seeking to corral a blaze that has blackened over 18,000 acres of the Nebraska National Forest in Halsey and nearby ranchland.

Brian Scott, a spokesman for the Rocky Mountain Complex Incident Management Team, said some rainfall onMonday also helped to slow the so-called Bovee Fire, which destroyed a 4-H camp and lookout tower at the Halsey forest on Sunday.

The fire was deemed 56% contained as of Tuesday evening.

“It’s been a good couple of days here,” Scott said. “The humidity has helped tremendously to lower the fire activity.”

He said there was some expansion of the fire north of Nebraska Highway 2, across private ranches west of Halsey, on Tuesday.

A mapping airplane, deployed Tuesday, calculated that 18,932 acres had burned on the forest and on adjacent ranches.

About 200 firefighters, including two elite “hot shot” crews, were fighting the fire Tuesday, Scott said.

He said there had been no additional loss of life or structures.

On Sunday, Mike Moody, 59, the assistant chief of the Purdum Volunteer Fire Department, died after experiencing a “medical emergency” while working the initial attack on the fire.


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Paul Hammel
Paul Hammel

Senior Reporter Paul Hammel has covered the Nebraska Legislature and Nebraska state government for decades. He started his career reporting for the Omaha Sun and later, editing the Papillion Times group in suburban Omaha. He joined the Lincoln Journal-Star as a sports enterprise reporter, and then a roving reporter covering southeast Nebraska. In 1990, he was hired by the Omaha World-Herald as a legislative reporter. Later, for 15 years, he roamed the state covering all kinds of news and feature stories. In the past decade, he served as chief of the Lincoln Bureau and enterprise reporter. Paul has won awards for reporting from Great Plains Journalism, the Associated Press, Nebraska Newspaper Association and Suburban Newspapers of America. A native of Ralston, Nebraska, he is vice president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation, a member of the Nebraska Hop Growers and a volunteer caretaker of Irvingdale Park in Lincoln.