Dry conditions mean county fire risk high

TORRINGTON – Goshen County, along with Platte County, parts of Laramie County and several areas in the Nebraska Panhandle were placed under a Red Flag Warning for wildfires on Tuesday, and dry conditions, paired with high heat and wind, have made the area a tinderbox for the next several weeks. 

According to Goshen County Fire Warden Bill Law, who enacted a partial fire ban on June 29, conditions are ideal for wildfires. Law told the Goshen County Board of Commissioners that he has upgraded the county’s fire danger status to ‘extreme’ on the gauge near the fire hall. 

“I called all nine of our county fire chiefs to get their input on the fire conditions in their area,” he said. “It is tinder-dry.

“These are extreme conditions. We need to be on alert for that.”

The Red Flag Warning expired at 8 p.m. Tuesday, but there is no rain in forecast for the next 10 days, with temperatures expected to be in the 90-100- degree range – which means the warning could return. 

A Red Flag Warning means conditions are favorable for critical fire weather conditions, either immediately or in the very near future.

That does not mean fires will start spontaneously, but a combination of strong winds, low humidity and warmer temperatures make conditions ripe for fires to spread quickly, once they ignite. Any fires that do develop in the warned area are likely to spread rapidly.

Law said controlled burns are not prohibited, but are discouraged. 

“There are always people who like to do controlled burns out in the county, to burn debris around their homes, things like that,” he said. “Controlled burns are allowed but not recommended.”

Law said residents should call central dispatch at 532-7001 to notify dispatchers about their controlled burn. 

“It’s important that you call them and give them your address and your name, when you’re starting the fire, and when it is completed,” he said. “One of the reasons for this is that if somebody is driving by and sees a blaze, they’ll call it in and if dispatch doesn’t have a records of it, they will immediately dispatch a fire department.”


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