NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - As of Tuesday evening the Betty’s Way Fire in Lincoln, Dawson, and, Custer Counties has claimed 71,022 acres according to a press release from Region 51 Emergency Management Director Brandon Myers.

Fire managers are continuously assessing the work performed and updating the containment which was estimated to be at 72% as of Tuesday evening. Officials have confirmed that one primary residence was damaged and numerous outbuildings have been destroyed by the fire that began Monday morning in Lincoln County before spreading into Dawson and Custer Counties.

Incident Commander Nathan Flowers said in an interview with KNOP News 2 that the severity of the fire partnered with weather conditions created a possibly deadly situation.

”We had no injuries or fatalities to civilians in our community or for our firefighters so that is a big win for us. We did lose some firefighters over the course of the last three years and this fire was pretty much similar to what we had a few years ago in terms of being a wind-driven fire and the possibility of loss of life,” said Flowers.

Flowers credited area first responders for their efficiency. “A lot of their initial response mentions that they almost had it but encountered some challenges in getting through fences. And it was the best case scenario they got there as fast as they could and the call came in as fast as it could and unfortunately, the wind does its thing,” said Flowers.

Flowers stressed that a fire the size of the Betty’s Way Fire can be very difficult to manage. ”I think the total was somewhere around 35 miles long and in some places two to three miles wide. It was a wind-driven fire when you look at the maps you can see that wind definitely influenced this fire. Which can make it very difficult to manage. When the fire is exceding or going that fast the best thing to do is protect our people protect our firefighters and protect our civilians because it is almost impossible to stop,” said Flowers.

Flowers stressed that crews would be monitoring the situation and scene as the week progressed.

”Right now we are working on containment and control, it is a full suppression fire so that is our tactic is to put this fire to bed. We do have a lot of resources on the scene right now and they did a lot of great work in the grassy and sandy areas that allowed us to say that this going to be a patrol status so we might need to have just one engine back and forth to make sure that there is nothing out there. In the heavy pocketed timbers or where there are more homes involved we want to make sure that those values are protected so we are going to put more engines in those areas to make sure that we don’t get anything escaping. We are anticipating that in the next 48 hours, we have some significant changes,” concluded Flowers.

Fire managers are actively working with the American Red Cross and various state agencies to aid those affected by the Betty’s Way Fire. If you were impacted by the fire, please contact:

- United States Department of Agriculture- 308-534-2360
- Natural Resources Conservation Services- 308-535-8080
- Salvation Army- 308-532-2038
- American Red Cross- 1-833-583-3111