Lea County Firefighters Gear Up For Wintry Wildfires

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

HOBBS, N.M. - Lea County residents can expect to see smoke and flames starting Saturday morning. But don't worry, it's a move to protect homes and property. It's all part of a plan to make sure firefighters are ready for wintry wildfires.

It's no secret this time of the year, wildfires can start and spread quickly across Lea County, New Mexico. That's why John Able and more than a dozen firefighters from every fire department in the county will be up early Saturday, getting a head start.

Able said roughly 18 acres in an area just west of Hobbs will burned. He said overgrown grass is always fuel for wildfires. Getting rid of it isn't just good practice, it'll take some of the danger out of the next few months.

"The second thing that it does is it notifies the public to be aware of fire danger," John Able, with the Hobbs Fire Department, explained. "We have noticed in the past year with this program that people see the smoke, they're more aware of the fire danger, so not only do we reduce the fuels that help spread fire, but it also notifies the public to be heads up to the fire danger."

However, Saturday's burn is really just the first step. Able said from here, they hope Lea County residents will be smart and keep their eyes open to prevent any threat to homes and people.

Saturday's burn will start at eight in the morning and run all day. If you'll be in Hobbs, be aware you will probably see smoke and fire to the west. Drivers on Bender Boulevard will have to steer clear of emergency vehicles.