Strong winds are whipping wildfires in northwest Nebraska that have roughly tripled in size despite firefighters' efforts.
Officials estimated Sunday that the fires have now burned roughly 273 square miles, including at least 27,000 acres in South Dakota. That's up from roughly 93 square miles on Saturday and more than twice the size of Omaha.
The outlook was improving earlier Sunday because cooler weather overnight helped firefighters make good progress against the West Ash and Douthit fires near Chadron.
But then the Wellnitz fire north of Rushville broke through its containment lines. That fire has burned roughly 136 miles itself and was about 20 percent contained Sunday afternoon.
The West Ash fire is about 45 percent contained. The Douthit is about 95 percent contained.
Verona Douthit has lived in the hills of northwest Nebraska all 65 years of her life and now she has a fire named for her because one of the wildfires started on her family land.
Douthit says she knows it takes a long time for the land to recover from fire because some of her family's land burned in 1989 and the pine trees she loves may never be the same. Douthit says it's fantastic to see the way people came together to help fight the fire.
More American Red Cross disaster relief workers are arriving to help provide food and shelter to those evacuated from their homes.
The Red Cross says churches, businesses and services are joining together to provide meals and shelter to those displaced by the fires. More than 400 residents in Nebraska alone have been evacuated from their homes.
The Red Cross says more than 700 meals and snacks have been provided to both displaced residents and those battling the fires.
The Red Cross has set up shelters at St. Patrick's Assumption Arena in Chadron and Hope Baptist Mission in Rushville.