The Niobrara River Canyon Fire continues to burn a path across North-Central Nebraska. Crews having been battling the lightning-sparked blaze since Friday and right now emergency managers tell us the conditions aren't improving.
The fire may be in Nebraska but Jean Bucholz is feeling the heat all the way in Mitchell, South Dakota. Bucholz grew up on a ranch near Springview, NE and has been watching the fire closely as are her family members are currently on the fire's front line.
"I told my mom, I had heard the fire was so close to there, do you need us to come down there? do you need us to evacuate you or anything? She said, no you don't need to panic or anything, the fire is more south of Springview, and my parents ranch is 9 miles from Springview." Said Bucholz.
At least 10 buildings in Norden have been consumed by the fire which is burning an estimated 100,000 acres across Nebraska. The Region 24 Emergency Management Agency says there are more than 300 firefighters on the ground, as well as three Blackhawk Helicopters and a C-130 in the air.
Bucholz says she's been glued to Facebook and has found out how many others in Mitchell have friends and family also in harms way.
"we're all kind of clinging to Facebook, did you hear anything? this is what I saw, pictures, the whole bit, everyone is just posting what they can."" Said Bucholz.
The biggest challenge right now is the wind, at times gust will reach 30 miles an hour sparking hotspots into blazes. Bucholz says she's just hoping the wind doesn't turn the fire and take the family ranch as well many childhood memories with it.
"I love taking my kids and grand kids there because it's a piece of what we grew up with, living in town us a whole different story." Said Bucholz.
Bucholz says her mother has told her not to worry, but Bucholz says she'll probably be making a trip south this weekend.
"Obviously if the fire changes direction I'm going! the only thing is being two and a half hours away it's pretty tough to evacuate somebody but if they want me there I'll be there." Said Bucholz.
While acres of land still smolder, Bucholz is asking everyone to pray for the firefighters, but most of all pray for rain.
The fire chief KSFY spoke with Monday afternoon says he's not even sure how much of this fire has been contained. He added that the heat is making it difficult on firefighters who are working around the clock and they are just plain tired.
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