Brush Fires Spark Across Midwest From Hot, Dry Weather
Two major brush fires started in the nation’s heartland on the back of record-breaking heat and abnormally dry conditions on Monday.
A fire in North Platte, Nebraska that started on Monday afternoon forced evacuations on the city’s north side. Sheds were reportedly destroyed and several residents were spotted grabbing valuables as the fire neared homes. But as of late Monday night, the fire appeared to be mostly contained, according to reports from local TV station KNOP-TV.
North Platte set a record high of 91º on Monday, and coupled with incredibly dry conditions and gusty winds, elevated fire conditions were in play across Nebraska and further south into Oklahoma, where a brush fire in northwest parts of the state burned at least 20,000 acres as of late Monday.
Near Woodward, Oklahoma, where temperatures soared into the 80s under dry and gusty conditions, a major blaze also started on Monday afternoon, scorching a large swath of land north of Woodward. Evacuations were called for in northern parts of Woodward County and State Highway 50 was closed as a result. The fire more than doubled in size from Monday afternoon to Monday evening.
However, relief is in store on Tuesday, when a cold front moves through, dropping temperatures back substantially and mitigating the fire risk across the Midwest. Best wishes for those affected by these fires.
Meteorologist Chris Bianchi