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Volunteer Firefighter, 59, Dies Battling Fast-Moving Wildfire in Nebraska That's Burned 15,000 Acres

This photo provided by the Nebraska National Forest & Grasslands Service shows distant flames from the Bovee Fire near the Bessey Ranger District of the Nebraska National Forest. By Sunday night, the grassland fire in the state's Sandhills region had grown to about 15,000 acres, or around 24 square miles (62 square kilometers), according to the Nebraska National Forests & Grasslands Nebraska Wildfire, United States - 03 Oct 2022

Julie Bain/AP/Shutterstock

A 59-year-old volunteer firefighter died while helping to fight a fast-moving fire that has burned through thousands of acres in Nebraska over the last few days.

According to the Associated Press, Mike Moody of the Purdum Volunteer Fire Department died on Sunday after experiencing a medical emergency while fighting the Bovee Fire. The large blaze was first reported in the Bessey Ranger District of the Nebraska National Forest earlier that day.

Officials told the AP that Moody had been with the fire department for over four decades and was once the department's chief.

"Please join me in prayer for the family of Purdum Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Mike Moody, and the entire Purdum community, as they mourn his loss," Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts wrote in a message on Facebook on Monday.

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"[My wife] and I are also praying for the first responders continuing to fight the Bovee Fire near Halsey," Ricketts added.

ABC affiliate KLKN reported that Moody experienced a heart attack.

As of Tuesday morning, the Bovee Fire has burned through approximately 15,000 acres and is 30 percent contained, per Nebraska National Forests & Grasslands. Cool temperatures and light rainfall helped firefighters suppress sections of the blaze on Monday.

More than 200 emergency personnel are battling the fire. The organization believes the Bovee Fire was "human-caused" and is currently under investigation.

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All evacuations in the area near the fire have been lifted, according to Nebraska National Forests & Grasslands.

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"Dozers, engines and hand crews made good progress on fireline construction on the northern and eastern flanks of the fire, and work began on the western side," the Rocky Mountain Complex Incident Management Team said, according to KOLN.

No other injuries have been reported as a result of the fire.