A grass fire caused by a discarded cigarette burned an estimated 20 to 40 acres about halfway between North Platte and Stapleton on Friday, Stapleton Fire Chief Frank Kramer said.

He said the call came in about 12:25 p.m., and the fire had what he estimated was a “10-acre head start” by the time firefighters arrived.

Kramer said the location, near the fire-district dividing line, was not identified precisely, so North Platte firefighters also responded. Since they were there, “we let them help out,” he said.

The burned area was on the north side of Nieden Road, about a half-mile east of U.S. Highway 83.

“It was pretty dry and the fire spread quickly,” Kramer said, but firefighters contained it in about an hour. With winds out of the northwest, Nieden Road served as a barrier to stop fire spreading to the south. That helped a lot, Kramer said.

He said it was good the fire didn’t start a quarter of a mile farther north, as it might have threatened a home.

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