CHADRON, Neb. | The Region 23 Complex Fires — consisting of the Douthit Fire between Crawford, Neb., and Harrison, Neb., and the West Ash Creek Fire between Chadron and Crawford — has scorched an estimated 25,000 acres and is zero percent contained.
Public Information Officer Beth Hermanson said that estimate is expected to rise this evening when a new update is released.
"There was growth. The weather has not helped us today," she said.
Hermanson also confirmed that some structures have been lost in the two fires, though she did not have exact details.
There will be a community meeting at the Crawford Community Center at 7:30 p.m. today. Nebraska Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy will tour the fire areas and attend the community meeting.
According to information posted on the InciWeb system online, 102 residences and 152 individuals have been evacuated. Adding to the total are the evacuations of Chadron State Park and the Pine Ridge Job Corps. Chadron State College cancelled classes Thursday and today to give students going home for the holiday the chance to leave early.
The Douthit Fire evacuations include the Hudson-Meng center and areas between Sand Creek and Rimrock roads.
Both fires started from lightning Tuesday afternoon, and a Type II Incident Management Team took over both fires Thursday morning. The fires are exhibiting extreme rates of spread with long-range spotting, sustained crown runs and explosive growth rates in heavy fuel-load areas.
Chadron State Park is closed to visitors and is in the process of contacting people who had reservations for the Labor Day weekend. Hudson Meng is closed until further notice.
A third fire in Sheridan County, not part of the Region 23 Complex, is burning in the Metcalf Wildlife Area. The Sheridan County Sheriff's Office is evacuating residences south and west of Metcalf to Beaver Wall Road. Valentine, Gordon, Rushville and Hay Springs fire departments are battling that blaze, which started north of Rushville and continues to move south and west.