A wildfire sparked by lightning strikes in tinder-dry rangeland swept through a remote village and has burned about 150 square miles in north-central Nebraska.
The Fairfield Creek Fire burned out of control along a 7-mile front during the weekend in the drought-stricken region and was moving faster than fire lines could be established in pine-clad canyons and extensive grasslands along the Niobrara River, fire officials said Sunday.
The blaze is only the latest complication for the farmbelt, which is already suffering from the worst U.S. drought in half a century.
Norden, an unincorporated village of about six dwellings, was devastated by the blaze, according to emergency managers. Residents across a wide swath of Keya Paha County in the path of the fire were ordered to evacuate.
No fire injuries have been reported, although the flames destroyed a fire truck.
Gov. Dave Heineman declared a state of emergency. National Guard helicopters dropped water on the flames. An aerial tanker from Rapid City, S.D., dropped a slurry mixture.
Volunteer firefighters from several dozen communities, some as far as 200 miles away, were on the scene Sunday.