Early afternoon on October 22, 2022 at the Nebraska National Forest at Halsey, Nebraska and in the surrounding range land, was like a lot of other days this fall in Nebraska – temperature in the mid-80’s, very dry conditions, and winds in excess of 30 mph. Not a good day for an angry fire anywhere, much less in the Nebraska Sandhills. Approximately 19,000 acres including countless trees, innumerable undulating hills of drought-dried range land, and the Nebraska 4-H camp and Scott Lookout Tower were destroyed among other things. Forever-thanks to fire men and women who battled the blaze, and those of us, who revere the sandhills and the forest, extend our heart-felt condolences to the family of Mike Moody, the Purdum, NE Volunteer Fire Department’s commander who made the ultimate sacrifice and died of health related issues while battling the blaze. The range land will grow back over time and trees may be planted again in this largest man made forest in the western hemisphere. The 4-H camp may be rebuilt as will the tower, possibly. Unfortunately, a lost life can’t be replaced – but it can be remembered, as will Mike Moody’s. Prayer for Mike’s family is in order as they, and his friends, carry on without him in a landscape streaked with denuded hills of sand and skeleton trees. Winter snow and rain are vital to hold the sand in the face of wind erosion and to help stimulate grass and trees regrowth in the spring. Here’s hoping the months and years ahead are kind to the Sandhills.
Bill Burdett Vice President – Sandhills Journey National Scenic Byway firstname.lastname@example.org Horizons Without Bounds, LLC www.horizonswb.com 308-379-3261