Incident Management Team can be life-saver
The left coast is on fire and the right coast and parts of the South are being whipped by tropical storms.
Fire danger in Nebraska is high as well with more drought-ridden acres burned so far than in some years.
But, thanks to cooperative and collaborative efforts, the Cornhusker State is handling matters better than ever.
The Nebraska Forest Service says about 25,000 acres have burned and that’s on the high side of average. Two big fires were sparked in one of the driest Augusts ever. The Hubbard Gap fire burned 4,000 acres in the Wildcat Hills of Banner County and the Aristocrat Fire burned 400 acres south of Chadron on state forestland.
The good news, it could have been much worse had it not been for teamwork between local and state agencies. Volunteer fire department chiefs in both incidents said they learned—from the fires that burned more than 500,000 acres in 2012—to call for help early on.
Still, six volunteer firefighters were injured in the Hubbard Gap fire, which also prompted two emergency evacuations.
In response to the 2012 fires, the 2013 Nebraska Legislature allocated extra funds for more equipment and training. Now, the administration of Governor Pete Ricketts has taken one more all-important step and created a fully operational Type 3 All-Hazards Incident Management Team (IMT).
No, it’s not just another committee. It’s not a bunch of people running around with clipboards and file folders and attending meetings. This IMT is the real deal, considering the involvement of the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, the State Fire Marshal’s office, the Nebraska National Guard and the Nebraska Forest
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