WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A Wildfire forced residents of Thedford (Thomas County), Neb., to evacuate their houses on Tuesday, March 16. The fire had already consumed 40,000 acres of vegetation in Cherry, Hooker and Thomas counties. Residents began voluntarily returning home several hours after the initial threat. Thedford, 245 miles west of Omaha, is the Thomas County seat. Thomas County has a total population of 850.
A number of fire companies from surrounding counties have come to the aid of those battling the flames. The governor has declared a local state of emergency. FEMA's regional office in Kansas City, Mo. (Region VII) continues to monitor the situation and is in contact with Nebraska emergency management officials.