Wildfire burns almost 700 acres in southeast Nebraska

UNION, Neb. (AP) – Overnight rain helped firefighters get control of two wildfires Monday in southeast Nebraska near the Missouri River.

Nebraska officials said after Gov. Jim Pillen surveyed the damage that the fire near Beaver Lake was about 90% contained while the other fire near Waconda Lake was about 85% contained. Both fires started over the weekend after sparks blew across the Missouri River from Iowa, and they burned nearly 700 acres but didn’t destroy any homes.

But the fires didn’t grow much overnight Sunday in Nebraska thanks to the rain and diminishing winds as firefighters from more than two dozen different departments worked to control them. Iowa firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze on their side of the river while it was in the Aulden Bar Wildlife Management Area, but it wasn’t immediately clear how many acres had burned in Iowa.

A few people near Lake Waconda had to evacuate Saturday, but no homes were damaged by the fire in Nebraska and those residents were able to return home over the weekend.

“It’s looking pretty good right now,” Nebraska Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Jodie Fawl said Monday afternoon.

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