Lincoln, Neb. —Governor Pete Ricketts and Nebraska Emergency Management Agency Assistant Director Bryan Tuma, State Fire Marshal Chris Cantrell and Nebraska Forest Service Director John Erixson announced that, for the first time in its history, the State of Nebraska has a fully operational Type 3, All-hazards Incident Management Team. This team was created through a joint effort of all three agencies’ dedicated professionals and is an accomplishment 10 years in the making.
Gov. Ricketts announced that nearly 50 Nebraskans have now earned credentials to serve on a Nebraska Type 3 IMT or IMAT during wildfires or other disasters and incidents.
“These Nebraskans are prepared to work on a multi-agency/multi-jurisdictional team to provide an effective response to extended incidents including wildfires, floods and other disasters. When local resources are depleted or beyond the capabilities of the local responders, Nebraska’s qualified responders can work with local jurisdictions to provide management resources and access to needed resources.”
Abnormally dry and moderate drought conditions in the western and south central portions of the state, have resulted in several fires already this year, including the Hubbard Fire that burnt 4,000 acres in Banner County late last month. NEMA, the State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Nebraska Forest Service along with partner agencies are ready to support local responders should any wildfires exceed capacity to manage the incident at the local level.
Nebraska’s newly-formed Type 3 Incident Management Team (IMT) can also be used as a Type 3 Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) which can assist in any needed response when requested by the local responders or emergency manager.
“The training and experience of IMT members in using the Incident Command System during a response is essential,” Erixson said. “The team will be a great resource for the state and allows for representatives of multiple agencies and jurisdictions to work together effectively to manage any type of incident.”
The Nebraska Forest Service has purchased two trailers and equipment that will aid members of an IMT or IMAT to assist in the response to wildfires, Erixson said. In addition, the Nebraska Forest Service has added six Single Engine Air Tanker bases around the state since the wildfires in 2012.
“The tanker can reload fire retardant quickly and help control wildfires early before they grow in size and get out of hand,” Erickson said. “Multiple SEAT bases gives us capabilities to manage multiple fires and allows us to also support wildfire operations in neighboring states.”
The SEAT program was established in accordance with the legislature’s Wildfire Control Act of 2013.