A large wildfire near Gothenburg broke out during the afternoon of Thursday, March 4, which prompted the shutdown of the eastbound lane of I-80.
Around noon a fire broke out on the south side of I-80 near mile marker 215 and spread west due to wind gusts up to 15 mph and dry vegetation in its path.
The Gothenburg Volunteer Fire Department called for mutual aid from both the Cozad and Lexington departments.
Around 1:25 p.m. the fire was encroaching close to the eastbound lane and the wind shifted, causing smoke to blow over the roadway and reduce visibility to almost zero.
The decision was made by the Nebraska State Patrol to shut down the eastbound lane at Brady and traffic was diverted to Highway 30.
The fire was contained to the north by I-80 but was spreading to the south and it jumped Willow Road at several points.