Wildfires raging in western Nebraska have forced Chadron State College to cancel classes. Area school districts canceled classes for Thursday and Friday as well.
College spokesman Justin Haag said Thursday that the campus will remain open, but the Thursday and Friday cancellations will allow students to leave early for the Labor Day weekend.
School administrator Dale Grant says the campus is in no immediate danger, but officials wanted to err on the side of caution. Students living in residence halls are not required to leave. But those who do are being asked to check out at the front desk so residence life staff can monitor who is still on campus.
Haag says school officials are keeping watch on a fire that closed U.S. Highway 385, south of Chadron.
A 64-year-old woman died of an apparent heart attack during a wildfire evacuation south of Chadron. The Dawes County attorney's office says Ronni Davis died Wednesday night. A neighbor discovered Davis having difficulty breathing while checking on her during the evacuation. Emergency crews took her to the hospital where she died.
The wildfire is one of two raging in Dawes County. The other is burning between Harrison and Crawford. Authorities have evacuated about 150 residents. Both fires were started by lightning from a Tuesday afternoon thunderstorm.