UPDATE: Firefighters spend seven hours battling field fire in NE Nebraska
Numerous Siouxland fire crews spent their Sunday battling a corn field fire fanned by high winds.
The fire just southwest of Battle Creek Nebraska was reported just before noon Sunday, and closed down Highway 121 leading into town. Firefighters from at least ten different departments could be seen helping out at the scene, battling not only the flames and heavy smoke...but wind gusts as high as 50 miles per hour. The fire inched close enough to town to force an evacuation of the west side of Battle Creek. Witnesses say it didn't take long for smoke and ash to overtake the town of about 1000 people.
"I noticed that it was really smoky outside. You feel ash all over you and getting in your hair," said Charles Kohles, a Battle Creek resident.
"It was really hazy. It was really hard to breathe. It burned your eyes, almost like being too close to a campfire," added Darien Shanno.
One evacuee who declined to speak on camera said they stayed with family for about two hours...but added that some stayed behind and watered their lawns to help prevent the fire from spreading. Fire officials say a garage and some outbuildings were lost, but all of the town's homes were spared. Witnesses say that's a testament to how well law enforcement handled a situation that could have been much worse.
"I'm really happy no one got hurt and I'm really thankful for the fire crews and the police and all the stuff they did. Otherwise, it could have been a lot worse," Shanno said.
"They did a really good job," agreed Kohles.
The high winds spread the haze miles from the scene as the evening wore on. Fire officials have yet to say how the fire started. Crews from neighboring towns began dispersing from the scene just after seven Sunday night.
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