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Firefighters battle wind-blown blaze northeast of North Platte

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Firefighters battle wind-blown blaze northeast of North Platte

Feb 27, 2024 | 3:07 pm ET
By Paul Hammel
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Firefighters battle wind-blown blaze northeast of North Platte
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The Betty's Way Fire, northeast of North Platte, had consumed more than 71,000 acres of land and destroyed two homes and several outbuildings by Tuesday. (courtesy Nebraska State Patrol)

Editor’s note: this story has been updated with new information.

LINCOLN — At least 15 volunteer fire departments and state emergency responders were fighting a wind-blown wildfire northeast of North Platte that had consumed 71,000 acres of land by midday Tuesday.

No injuries had been reported, but one primary residence was destroyed and one damaged in what’s being called the Betty’s Way Fire.

The fire was reportedly 72% contained by Tuesday evening.

Evacuations were ordered ahead of the fire, which is being propelled eastward by 40 mph winds. The Nebraska State Fire Marshal has determined that the fire was human-caused, officials said, resulting from mowing operations.

The Betty’s Way Fire was reported at 10:32 a.m. Monday, approximately 8.6 miles northeast of North Platte in rural Lincoln County. It has since spread into Custer County.

Gov. Jim Pillen declared an emergency Monday night, opening additional support from state agencies and use of the governor’s disaster funds.

Two National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters were deployed to drop water on the fire. The Nebraska Incident Management Team began helping manage the fire response Tuesday morning.