by: Rob Tooke
ECTOR COUNTY, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – The Basin is windy and extremely dry. Grass fires are sparking under these conditions, which characterize dangerous fire weather.
In Ector County, local fire crews worked two wildfires on Wednesday, April 13th. Odessa Fire Rescue and the West Odessa Volunteer Fire Department responded to a fire near East Loop 338 and I-20 on Wednesday morning.
Brice Brown, a senior firefighter with the West Odessa Volunteer Fire Department, said the fire spanned approximately 15 acres. He said crews found evidence of an electrical line sparking.
“Of course, with how dry we are, [the fire] ran,” Brown said. He said wind gusts reached approximately 25 miles per hour.
Around 3 P.M. on Wednesday, another fire started. The small brush fire ignited in West Odessa, alongside the South I-20 service road, just west of Moss Avenue.
As quickly as the fire started, the flames were extinguished.
“We are busy, that’s the only way to put it,” Brown said.
The risk of wildfires spreading in the Basin are much higher during dry and windy conditions.
A chain dragging on a trailer or a lit cigarette could spark a fire.
“You got all that fuel that’s ready to burn and it just takes an instant to burn. Once it gets going, it’s going to be hard to stop it,” Brown said.
Brown has the following recommendations for homeowners and business owners:
- Keep your grass cut and trimmed down
- Remove any debris or trash away from your home
- Remain weather-aware
- Listen to local authorities
- Have a water source nearby
A burn ban is still in effect in Ector County. The order was signed in mid-March and will last 90 days, until mid-June.
While forms of burning are still allowed by certain entities in Ector County, Brown said do not burn unless it is necessary.
“If you do, put it in a barrel, put a grate over it. Make sure it’s not blowing 20 miles an hour outside. Make sure the winds are calm,” he said.