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Fire officials plan to begin burning piles

CHADRON, Neb. — Beginning Monday, Dec. 3, and as weather allows over the next few weeks, fire officials in forested areas of the northern Panhandle plan to burn slash piles.

Both the Pine Ridge Ranger District of the Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission plan to ignite piles during the next several weeks. The agencies will notify the public about specific locations as the burning begins.

At various times, smoke will likely be visible from Chadron, Crawford, Whitney, U.S. Highways 385 and 20 throughout the Pine Ridge, and other nearby roads and properties. Personnel from each of the two agencies will conduct the burns and check them at least daily until they are completely extinguished.

Officials say thinning and reducing hazardous fuel accumulation and build-up on the ground is an important tool to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire across the landscape. The slash piles are from mechanical thinning completed in forested areas of the region and some residue from previous fires.

For more information, contact the Pine Ridge Ranger District at 308-432-0300 or the Game and Parks Commission Pine Ridge Field Office at 308-665-2924.

About Justin Haag

Justin Haag has served the Commission as a public information officer in the Panhandle since 2013. His duties include serving as regional editor for NEBRASKAland Magazine. Haag was raised in southwestern Nebraska, where he developed a love for fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Chadron State College in 1996, he worked four years as an editor and reporter at newspapers in Chadron and McCook. Prior to joining the Commission in 2013, he worked 12 years as a communicator at Chadron State, serving as the institution’s media and public relations coordinator the last five. He and his wife, Cricket, live in Chadron, and have two children.

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