CFD: lit cigarette, winds cause Thursday evening fire
COLUMBUS, Neb. -- Authorities in Columbus said that a Thursday evening fire was caused by a lit cigarette and high winds.
The Columbus Fire Department said that the fire was located on the east side of town.
Around 5:45 p.m., CFD said they got a call for a field fire near First Ave, and 8th St., which quickly spread nearing SE Calle Colombo St.
According to Columbus Assistant Fire Chief Nathan Jones, rescue officials stepped up and spent several hours extinguishing the fire. There were no injuries and there was no extensive damage.
“We had a great turnout from our on and off duty career personnel, City paid-reserve firefighters and Columbus Rural Fire Protection District members,” Jones said. “We did not have to evacuate anyone, though some people did so on their own and that’s great.”
Jones said that officials left the scene around 8:15 p.m.
He said he believes some smoke got into homes in the area, but that nothing was directly reported to CFD.
According to Jones, he believes the wind picked up embers off a lit cigarette and carried them into the field, causing the fire.
The fire came just after Gov. Jim Pillen declared a state of emergency across Nebraska Thursday afternoon, as multiple volunteer fire departments and other agencies continue to battle various wildfires.
The governor later announced Thursday he issued an executive order banning all open burns in Nebraska until April 16.
Jones stressed that residents should be cautious when using or doing anything that requires fire, such as barbecuing.
“We encourage our citizens to be mindful of how they dispose of smoking material and take caution when using outdoor cooking equipment,” he said.
The fire is not under investigation, Jones said, as officials believe it to be accidental in nature.