Local Firefighters Happy for Rain this Independence Day Weekend

By: Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

Hurricane Alex is putting a damper on some 4th of July plans, but local firefighters say the rain means they'll have a more pleasant holiday weekend.

Still, it just might turn out that behind this blessing, there could be bigger problems down the line.

Storm clouds usually aren't welcome before a holiday weekend, but local firefighters say they can stay.

"It is a very good thing in the short term with the 4th of July weekend coming up," Interim Fire Chief Jeff Meiner of the Midland Fire Department, said. "In the past, we've had dry 4th of July's and we've seen a lot of fires. This year, we don't expect that with the green-up of all the grasses."

Now firefighters across the Basin may have a quieter Independence Day than usual.

"I'm not anticipating anything for the 4th of July," Captain Bryan Barrow with the South Ector County Volunteer Fire Department, said. "Not saying that it can't happen, I just don't expect it to."

Captain Barrow says the South Ector County Volunteer Fire Department isn't as busy as larger departments and thanks to the rain they haven't fought any fires.

Looking at the puddles littering South Ector County, it's clear they've gotten their share of the rain. They've received over five inches this week alone.

The problem is firefighters fear the grass and other foliage that is growing will dry out and cause more fires later in the summer.

"When this weather pattern that we have goes away, everything that's green is going to die out and turn into fuel for fires," Barrow said. "So, absolutely later on in the summer it could bite us getting all of this rain right now."

They say everyone can do their part.

"Don't burn on the ground," Barrow said. "If you burn in your burn barrel, cover it. Keep your grass mowed around your houses. Keep it mowed down as short as possible. Just some common sense things like that would go a long way."