In the wake of massive summer blazes that threatened property, strained local budgets and disrupted businesses that rely on tourism, Nebraska lawmakers are preparing for 'new normal' of mega-fires.
Nebraska will likely see larger and more intense "mega-fires" in coming years for a variety of reasons, said State Forester Scott Josiah. Heat, drought and climate change play a role, but so does the spread of eastern red cedar trees -- a pine with needles and resin that both are highly flammable.
"These fires are just so much bigger than what we've faced before," Josiah said. "We're in a new normal, and fire departments will need more equipment and resources."