NORFOLK, Neb. — As she worked on a book project, Chera Sisson of Ainsworth, Neb., often pored over thousands of photographs until the wee hours of the morning after she put her children to bed.
When she wasn't selecting photos, she was typing captions, working on layouts and proofreading.
But the work of Sisson and Sandi McCoy of Springview, Neb., has paid off with “When Smoke Filled the Skies: The Niobrara River Valley Wildfires of 2012.”
It began with some women who thought a book would be a great way to pay tribute to the hundreds of firefighters who came to put out the fires.
The fire consumed more than 76,000 acres in north-central Nebraska.
“We just put out the call for the local newspapers and on Facebook,” McCoy said.
“Of course, Facebook was just rife with photos. We knew there were a lot of amateur photos.”
McCoy said she and Sisson got “well over 2,000 photos.” But since Sisson was an English teacher and had a photo business, she led the effort.
The 208-page book costs $80, and the postage to send it is $10.
McCoy said that when they took preorders at $65 to get enough to pay the publisher, some people balked at the cost. But after they got the final product, they were pleased.
Palmer said all the profits will be donated to the volunteer fire departments of Cherry, Brown, Keya Paha and Rock Counties.
McCoy said as devastating as the fires were, there were many positive things that came out of them.
“One of the most astounding things was that so many fire departments from all over came to our aid,” McCoy said. “There are also a lot of aerial photos that show the vastness of the fires.”
The book also shows many of the buildings that were saved by the efforts of firefighters.
McCoy said as word has gotten out about the book, which was released earlier this summer, there have been many people inquiring about it. A lot of the book's promotion has been by word of mouth, resulting in a much bigger area of interest than four counties.