The large number of wildfires this summer is to blame for straining budgets in Nebraska's fire departments.
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.