Wildfires blamed on extreme heat and drought are straining the budgets of rural Nebraska fire departments as crews race from one spot to another.
Fires in western and central Nebraska have forced departments to dip into their cash reserves and some are asking residents to approve tax increases to help cover their fuel and maintenance costs. Their fire trucks have spent far more time on the roads than normal, traveling thousands of miles to help other departments.
Some volunteer firefighters have had to use vacation time to help answer the repeated emergency calls while others leave their businesses unattended for days at a time.
In Ainsworth, Fire Chief Brad Fiala says the combination of wind, drought and heat is the worst he's seen in his 28-year career.