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Heineman confident scaled back wildfire bill will work

Governor Dave Heineman believes even with reductions in the cost of a bill that places new firefighting resources into central and western Nebraska, the legislation will greatly enhance efforts to fight wildfires in the rural end of the state. The measure would reduce the number of aerial tankers in Valentine and Chadron during the fire season from two to one, which Heineman says is necessary due to budget concerns.

The bill would also require the state to thin forests, and offer new training to emergency responders, among other steps. Heineman says the bill will also have language to guarantee the state, not the federal government, will have operational control of the new equipment.

Senator Al Davis of Hyannis is the sponsor of the legislation. Nebraska experienced 1,570 wildfires last year that burned a total of 786 square miles.

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