Extreme Fire Risk Warning - FOX 42: Omaha News, Sports and Weather; kptm.com |

Extreme Fire Risk Warning

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A much bigger chance of fires spreading in our area.  It was so dry and windy, we were under a red flag warning for most of the afternoon.  People in Waverly saw why.  They watched a grass fire sweep through nearly 200 acres in a matter of minutes.

"It was just so big.  There was so much smoke and the flames, there were so many flames and they were everywhere," Waverly resident Deidre Stephenson says.

Smoke was seen for miles yesterday as a major grass fire north of Waverly burned an area the size of a city block.  Winds pushed the fire into harvested corn stubble burning nearly 200 acres.  "We just saw a whole bunch of smoke coming from just on the other side of these houses to the north and as we watched the fire just kind of went East really fast because of the wind," Waverly resident Josh Floyd says.

"It was just going.  It was rolling and it was scary to see if they could even stop it," Stephenson says.

According to the National Weather Service, most of the eastern half of Nebraska, and western and northern Iowa, are under extreme fire risk…this includes Omaha, Council Bluffs and Lincoln.

"We would ask them not to burn anything today.  It's just to dangerous, even a small fire can get our of control pretty quickly so we ask everybody to heed the warning and not to have any open burns," Bellevue Battalion Chief Mike Stucker says.

On windy days like today, Stucker says fires can start quickly, spread furiously and burn intensely.  "Well, wind does a couple things, one is it also drys things out quicker ya know so speeds up the fire travel so like I say even a small fire can get out of control pretty quickly,"

Backyard fire pits can be dangerous.  Embers can drift miles away.  "It's just a danger to everyone involved not just you but your neighbors, it also places structures in danger, also your house, your neighbors house, so we would just ask people to use a little common sense and not burn on days like today," Stucker says.

Stucker says if you do decide to start a fire in a pit, make sure you have water or a fire extinguisher nearby and when your done put the fire out completely.

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