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Some South Dakota farmers are unhappy with industrial ag getting conservation funds; Texas judge allows abortion in Cox case; Native tribes express concern over Nevada's clean energy projects.

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The Colorado Supreme Court weighs barring Trump from office, Georgia Republicans may be defying a federal judge with a Congressional map splitting a Black majority district and fake electors in Wisconsin finally agree Biden won there in 2020.

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Texas welcomes more visitors near Big Bend but locals worry the water won't last, those dependent on Colorado's Dolores River fear the same but have found common ground solutions, and a new film highlights historical healthcare challenges in rural Appalachia.

Nebraska Fire Risk Remains High

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Wednesday, November 30, 2022   

Nebraska has had a number of deadly and destructive fires this year, and nearly half the state remains in extreme or exceptional drought. If it is as windy this year as it was last year at this time, fire risk to life and property will continue to be high.

Tedd Teahon, district fire management officer for the Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest, said there is no longer a fire season; it's a year-round phenomenon.

One firefighter died fighting the national forest fire in Halsey, which burned nearly one-fourth of the largest hand-planted forest in North America. It is believed to have been human-caused, but remains under investigation.

Teahon emphasized a spark is all it takes in these dry conditions.

"That will start fires right now, if you throw your cigarette butt out," Teahon stressed. "Check underneath your vehicles, make sure you haven't caught something, something is dragging and so on. Anything that could start a spark."

Fires took the lives of three Nebraska firefighters this year, more than a dozen were injured, and one has been recovering in a Lincoln rehab center for over a month. Although people cause nearly 85% of all wildland fires, Teahon noted most fires in the Nebraska National Forest are caused by lightning strikes.

Teahon urged people to observe posted restrictions as well as the weather.

"You know, if you're coming out to the forest, a big deal is parking, so make sure you read your fire restrictions very well," Teahon advised. "Weather is a huge one, you know, if it's going to be super windy, maybe it's not a good day to go driving around at all."

With the ongoing La Niña effect, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts continued drought in the Midwest through at least January.

Teahon added winter brings increased challenges for firefighters.

"And the problem now is that it's getting below freezing, and fire trucks will start freezing up, you know, once the sun goes down," Teahon explained.

In addition to equipment failure, winter risks for firefighters include falls, hypothermia and frostbite.


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