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Rain aids firefightersTell North Platte what you think
Photo by Aaron Edwards StormViewLive
Grass fires north of U.S. 83. (Click or tap to enlarge image)
Photo by Aaron Edwards StormViewLive
Smoke drifts across U.S. 83.
Photo by Aaron Edwards StormViewLive
Burned area near the highway.

The North Platte Fire Department responded Sunday evening to a grass fire north of town, caused by lightning.

Several lightning fires were reported in western Nebraska as the storm moved through. Most of them were followed by rain that soon extinguished the fires.

A fire sprang up about 7 p.m. near Hillcrest Drive at mile marker 90 on U.S. Highway 83, Battalion Chief Dave Heitman said. That’s about 6.5 miles north of North Platte.

The fire department sent two grass rigs at 7:07 p.m., Heitman said. When a caller said the fire was getting close to a house, the department followed up with a pumper truck.

They were not there very long before the rain hit and put the fire out. The fire did not get closer than 150 yards or so to the house, according to an observer on the scene. Heitman said the trucks returned to North Platte at 7:44 p.m.

Heavy smoke drifted across U.S. 83 for awhile, but no buildings were damaged and no one was injured.

Grass fires were reported in the Stapleton area too.

Heitman said lightning in the area really popped for a while.

“There is not much a person can do to prevent lightning fires. The best thing to do is report them quickly,” he said.

On the plus side, the storm brought needed rainfall.

An inch-and-a-half of rain fell in the middle of North Platte, according to a resident who lives near the McKinley Education Center.

The National Weather Service reported 1.10 inches at the North Platte Regional Airport, with wind gusts up to 35 mph.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 7/3/2017
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